Scientists have created the world’s thinnest hologram, opening up the opportunity to embed the technology in smartphones.
The revolutionary nano-hologram was designed by an Australian-Chinese research team at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), which was behind the research.
The technology is simple to make, can be seen without 3D googles, and is 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.
This means it could be integrated into mobile devices, according to the research paper published in Nature Communications.
Unlike 3D images, holographic projections allow viewers to move around and see the projection from different perspectives and angles.
However, developing holograms that are thin enough to work with modern electronics is a challenge.
During the French presidential campaign, candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon appeared at multiple rallies at the same time using the more bulky holographic technology.
This was also used at the Coachella Festival in California in 2012, when an image of rapper Tupac Shakur was projected on the stage to perform with Snoop Dogg.
RMIT Distinguished Professor Min Gu said: “Conventional computer-generated holograms are too big for electronic devices but our ultra-thin hologram overcomes those size barriers.
“Our nano-hologram is also fabricated using a simple and fast direct laser writing system, which makes our design suitable for large-scale uses and mass manufacture.
“Integrating holography into everyday electronics would make screen size irrelevant – a pop-up 3D hologram can display a wealth of data that doesn’t neatly fit on a phone or watch.
“From medical diagnostics to education, data storage, defence and cyber security, 3D holography has the potential to transform a range of industries and this research brings that revolution one critical step closer.”
Conventional holograms modulate the phase of light to give illusion of three-dimensional depth. To generate enough phase shifts, those holograms need to be at the thickness of optical wavelengths.
Working with the Beijing Institute of Technology (BIT) the researchers have broken that thickness limit with a 25-nanometre hologram, using a special material which allows light to pass through it differently at the surface than it does in the bulk.