Researchers Open Future Of Wearables With ‘World’s Thinnest Hologram’

Sam Pudwell joined Silicon UK as a reporter in December 2016. As well as being the resident Cloud aficionado, he covers areas such as cyber security, government IT and sports technology, with the aim of going to as many events as possible.

The breakthrough could pave the way for the future of wearable devices

A group of scientists from Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has developed the “world’s thinnest hologram” which would have practical implications for optical imaging, data storage and information security.

The team explains how it managed to break the previous record and achieve holograms a thousand times thinner than a human hair that could be integrated into devices such as smartphones, computers and televisions.

Led by Professor Min Gu, the team’s breakthrough in creating a 25 nm-thick hologram could bring holograms from the realm of science fiction into the reality.

Star Wars Leia hologram

Hologram tech

“Conventional computer-generated holograms are too big for electronic devices but our ultrathin hologram overcomes those size barriers,” Gu said. “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.”

The team used a “topological insulator material” called Sb2Te3 to reduce the size of holograms by allowing light from laser beams to reflect multiple times over and create the illusion of depth.

The next stage, according to the researchers, is to create a film that can be put on top of an LCD screen to make a 3D holographic display, which would have widespread applications for smartwatches and wearable devices.

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