Nav: Home

Multicolor holography technology could enable extremely compact 3D displays

January 24, 2019

WASHINGTON -- Researchers have developed a new approach to multicolor holography that could be used to make 3D color displays for augmented reality glasses, smartphones or heads-up displays without any bulky optical components.

In Optica, The Optical Society's journal for high impact research, researchers from Duke University, USA describe how they encoded a multicolor image onto a 300-by-300 micron hologram in a 2D waveguide structure, a very thin structure that guides light. The computer-generated hologram produces complex multicolor holographic images when the grating coupler is illuminated by red, green and blue light.

"The hologram could be embossed directly onto the lenses of augmented reality glasses to project an image directly into the pupil of the eye without requiring any bulky lenses, beam splitters or prisms," said Daniel L. Marks, a member of the research team. "It could also be used to project a 3D image from a smartphone onto a wall or nearby surface."

The new fabrication method encodes holograms in a material that is compatible with integrated photonics technology. This means that the holographic devices are easy to mass manufacture with the same fabrication methods used to make computer chips. The hologram producing elements could be incorporated into tiny chip-based devices that also house the light sources required to create the 3D images.

From one color to three

The new multicolor holography technique is based on computer-generated holograms. Unlike traditional holography, which requires a physical object and laser beams to create the interference pattern necessary to form a holographic image, computer-generated holography generates interference patterns digitally.

Computer generated holograms provide high-resolution 3D images, but it has proven difficult to create them in more than one color. The Duke team overcame this challenge by fabricating a grating -- a series of fringes --and a binary hologram in a waveguide made of a light-sensitive material known as photoresist. They developed a way to integrate the interference patterns for red, green and blue into a single binary hologram pattern.

"One of the difficult parts of making a multicolor display is combining the colors and then precisely separating them to generate a full color image," said Zhiqin Huang, first author of the paper. "With our approach this is all done all in one step on a single surface without any beam splitters or prisms. This makes it extremely amenable to integration into portable devices."

Another important achievement was creating the holographic device in a waveguide structure. "Others who have tried to create multicolor computer-generated holograms didn't use a waveguide, which makes it a challenge to integrate the structure into a device," said David R. Smith, leader of the research team. "Our design offers easier and more flexible integration with a form factor small enough for augmented reality and other displays."

Single-step color images

The researchers used their new holography method to encode interference patterns for static multicolor holograms of an apple, a flower and a bird. The resulting holographic images all matched well with theoretical predictions. Although they fabricated very small holograms for the demonstration, the researchers say that the technique could be easily scaled up to create larger displays. They also believe their approach could be incorporated with existing technologies -- such as those used to make liquid crystal displays -- to create dynamic images.

The researchers are now working to optimize the technology by reducing the light lost by the structures that encode the holograms. They also point out that incorporating the structures into a single integrated device with lasers would be necessary to make the technique practical.
-end-
Paper: Z. Huang, D. L. Marks, D. R. Smith, "Out-of-Plane Computer-Generated Multicolor Waveguide Holography," Optica, 6, 2, 119-124 (2019).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1364/OPTICA.6.000119

About Optica

Optica is an open-access, online-only journal dedicated to the rapid dissemination of high-impact peer-reviewed research across the entire spectrum of optics and photonics. Published monthly by The Optical Society (OSA), Optica provides a forum for pioneering research to be swiftly accessed by the international community, whether that research is theoretical or experimental, fundamental or applied. Optica maintains a distinguished editorial board of more than 50 associate editors from around the world and is overseen by Editor-in-Chief Alex Gaeta, Columbia University, USA. For more information, visit Optica.

About The Optical Society

Founded in 1916, The Optical Society (OSA) is the leading professional organization for scientists, engineers, students and business leaders who fuel discoveries, shape real-life applications and accelerate achievements in the science of light. Through world-renowned publications, meetings and membership initiatives, OSA provides quality research, inspired interactions and dedicated resources for its extensive global network of optics and photonics experts. For more information, visit osa.org.

Media Contacts:

Aaron Cohen

301-633-6773

aaroncohenpr@gmail.com

mediarelations@osa.org

The Optical Society

Related Color Articles:

Recovering color images from scattered light
Engineers at Duke University have developed a method for extracting a color image from a single exposure of light scattered through a mostly opaque material.
Deciphering how the brain encodes color and shape
There are hundreds of thousands of distinct colors and shapes that a person can distinguish visually, but how does the brain process all of this information?
Fish-inspired material changes color using nanocolumns
Inspired by the flashing colors of the neon tetra fish, researchers have developed a technique for changing the color of a material by manipulating the orientation of nanostructured columns in the material.
Iridescent color from clear droplets
Under the right conditions, ordinary clear water droplets on a transparent surface can produce brilliant colors, without the addition of inks or dyes.
Comparing antioxidants levels in tomatoes of different color
Greater levels of specific antioxidants were associated with particular colorations of tomato fruit.
More Color News and Color Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...