It seems that very soon we may have our smartphones emitting Star Wars like holograms. Researchers have just taken a new step in the world of holographic technology, and have developed the world’s thinnest holographic material, which is about 1000 times thinner than a human hair, and has an ideal thickness that can be integrated into Our Day-to-day devices such as televisions, computer screens, or even our smartphones.
For years scientists have teased us with the possibility of using holograms in our day-to-day life, but this time, the chance seems to be right around the corner, and it seems that soon we will be able to touch and interact with the long-awaited Holograms, because finally the scientists have managed to overcome the last barrier that prevented its implementation, the thickness.
As Min Gu from RMIT in Australia explains, in common holographic devices, a light had to be manipulated, by creating an illusion of a 3D object, the thickness of the material emitting the hologram, had to be proportional to light waves to manipulate, but now Gu’s team, was able to overcome these limitations by using an exotic material known as a topological insulating material.
This type of material is a material with peculiar features, having a reduced refractive index at the surface, and a very high refractive index at its core. Created with an overlay of a 25-nanometer film of tellurium antimony covered by a layer of silicone, the ultra-reflective surface makes the light to bounce around the central layer, and the multiple interior reflections result in various phases of light, creating conditions for the existence of a 3D hologram.
To form an image, the central layer was engraved with a laser, in a process similar to recording information on a DVD, forming a hologram of a square with about 3 millimeters, and although this may seem almost irrelevant, this is an important first step, so we can in the very near future achieve the desired results.
“Our nano-hologram is manufactured using a simple and fast process by using a direct laser system, which makes our design suitable for large scale use and production”, says Gu.
A colleague of Gu, Zengji Yue, stated that the next step involves a hard film that can be applied to an LCD screen, to make it a holographic 3D screen, but for that to be possible, it has to become 10 times more compact.