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Researchers Develop 3D Hologram Display for Smartphone Use

Picture of Tyler Koslow
by Tyler Koslow
May 22, 2017
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A team of researchers are using direct laser writing 3D printing to develop the “world’s thinnest hologram” for mobile phones.   

Just a few years ago, the idea of having access to holograms seemed like a fantastical notion. What once was a communication tool in the sci-fi classic Star Wars is starting to become an imminent reality.   

A team of researchers from the Melbourne, Australia-based RMIT University and the Beijing Institute of Technology are developing what they call the “world’s thinnest hologram.”

Researchers are trying to bring the power of R2D2 to your smartphone.

Creating 3D Holograms On Your Smartphone

The team is designing a nano-hologram that you can see without 3D goggles and is also 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Using topological insulators, the researchers are creating a holographic film screen that is only 60 nanometers thick.  

This material have unique properties, acting like a conductor at the surface but an insulator throughout most of the interiors.

According to Zengji Yue, a research fellow at RMIT University and co-author of the research paper, the combination of the metallic surface and insulated interior acts as an intrinsic optical cavity. This generates multiple reflections of light within the thin film.  

This research could someday allow us to display 3D holograms on our mobile phones. However, there are still some engineering obstacles that they need to overcome.

For example, smartphones must be able to generate the proper light source. Also, a viable film coating must be developed to properly suit such a device. 

Using Direct Laser Writing Technology To Fabricate Holographic Material  

In order to produce this type of holographic screen, the research team is using direct laser writing. This unique 3D printing technique uses a high-power laser beam to quickly remove portions of the thin film material. Ultimately, this technology enables the creation of centimeter-scale holograms.  

“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,” says RMIT University’s Professor Min Gu. 

At the moment, the Australian-Chinese research team is working to improve the efficiency and quality of their device. Later on, they will look into developing more flexible holograms, enabling use for smartphones and other applications. 

Source: RMIT & IEEE Spectrum

License: The text of "Researchers Develop 3D Hologram Display for Smartphone Use" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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