Holographic Displays: Making Their Way into Everyday Devices

By Dr S.S. Verma

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The new approach to generating holograms could lead to colour holographic-video displays that are much cheaper to manufacture than today’s experimental (2D), monochromatic displays. The same technique could also increase the resolution of conventional 2D displays. Thus, in the original Star Wars’ movie, the inviting but grainy special effects hologram might soon be a true full-colour, full-size holographic image due to advances by a research team refining 3D holographic displays. The team described a novel tabletop display system that allows multiple viewers to simultaneously view a hologram showing a full 3D image as they walk around the tabletop, giving complete 360-degree access.

A South Korean research team has developed a 3D holographic display that performs more than 2600 times better than existing 3D holographic displays. It is expected to improve the limited size and viewing angle of 3D images, which were a major problem of the current holographic displays.

To create a 3D hologram that can be viewed without special equipment such as 3D glasses, the wavefront of light must be controlled using wavefront modulators such as spatial light modulators and deformable mirrors. A wavefront modulator is an optical manipulation device that can control the direction of light propagation. However, the biggest limitation to using these modulators as 3D displays is the number of pixels.

The large numbers of pixels that are packed into high-resolution displays developed in recent years are suitable for a 2D image, and the amount of information contained in those pixels cannot produce a 3D image. For this reason, a 3D image that can be made with existing wavefront modulator technology is 1cm in size with a narrow viewing angle of 3 degrees, which is far from practicable.


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Dr S.S. Verma is a professor at Department of Physics, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur, Punjab

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