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Hologram and Holography

Current Usage And Future Prospects

The most common holograms are now an everyday occurrence. Embossed holograms are mass produced on mylar—foil and plastic—and can be viewed under the kind of diffused light which renders higher-quality holograms blurry. These can be seen on a variety of consumer goods, but they are also used on credit or identification cards as security measures. Holographic optical elements (HOEs) do not generate images themselves, but are employed to regulate the pattern of a scanning light A hologram of the Venus de Milo. It was produced by an optical laboratory in Besancon, France. At 5 ft (1.5 m) tall it is one of the largest holograms in the world. Photograph by Phillippe Plailly. National Audubon Society Collection/Photo Reseearchers, Inc. Reproduced by permission. beam. Supermarket checkout scanners are built out of a collection of HOEs mounted on a spinning disc, which can read a UPC code from any angle.

Holographic memory is an emerging technology, which aims to preserve data in a format superior to currently used magnetic ones. Binary computer code (patterns of ones and zeros) could be represented as light and dark spots. Part of a hologram can be defective or destroyed, while the remaining part will still retain all the data intact. Creative use of multiplexing can layer information, recorded from different positions.

Computer-aided design (CAD) imagery would be made more accessible to the average viewer if the full-scale plan appeared in apparent 3-D, instead of requiring that a series of linear plots be deciphered visually, which is the current practice. Holograms can be used as visualization aids and screening devices in aviation and automotives as well, since they can be viewed from a particular angle, but not others.

X rays can show detail where an electron microscope would only show dark undifferentiated circles, and would render less damage to a living thing or tissue than electronic bombardment. Subatomic or light-in-flight experiments could be recorded in fully-dimensional imagery, in real time.

Jennifer Kramer


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—The range in vibration of any radiation, visible or otherwise, as measured from the mean to the extreme.

Coherent radiation

—Electromagnetic waves with a consistent inter-relation; in the case of laser light the waves propagate in phase.

Diffraction grating

—A dispersive element consisting of a surface scribed with very fine, closely spaced grooves that cause different wavelengths of light to reflect or refract (bend) different amounts.

Fringe pattern

—A recognizable array of light and dark or transparent and opaque bands produced by interference.


—The effect two sets of propagating waves have on each other, and the combined pattern which may be detected as formed by this interaction.


—An acronym for light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation, the process by which a device generates a steady and coherent stream of electromagnetic radiation.


—The apparent displacement of a viewed three-dimensional object as seen by each eye of the static observer, in a process sometimes called "stereoscopic" vision.


—A cycle, measured according to the point at which a form of radiation is considered to have completed its full range of harmonic motion.


—The bending of light that occurs when traveling from one medium to another, such as air to glass or air to water.

Wave front

—In holography, a surface comprised at a particular instance of the total points reached by a vibration of electromagnetic radiation, during its propagation through a solid, liquid or gaseous substance.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Heterodyne to Hydrazoic acidHologram and Holography - Inventions And Variations, Materials And Techniques, Holograms Versus Photographs, Current Usage And Future Prospects