Nanometre-scale silicon forms high-quality holograms

Physicists at the Australian National University have developed a miniature device that creates what they claim to be the highest efficiency infrared holograms demonstrated to date, using the same principles as seen in Star Wars. The work was published as a memorandum in Optica last month and could lead to the miniaturisation of smartphone cameras and smaller, lighter complex optical systems on satellites. ‘As a child, I learned about

the concept of holographic imaging from the Star Wars movies,’ said PhD student and leader of the research, Lei Wang. ‘It’s really cool to be working on an invention that uses the principles of

made demonstrate the strong potential of this technology to be used in a range of applications.’

In addition to producing

holograms, the researchers see the new material having further

uses. ‘With our new material, we can create components with the same functionality [as larger components] that would essentially be flat and lightweight,’ Dr Kruk said. ‘While research in holography

plays an important role in the development of futuristic displays and augmented reality devices, we’re working on many other applications such as ultra- thin, lightweight optical devices for cameras and satellites.’

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holography in those movies.’ Holographic images enable

the reproduction of light in three dimensions. The researchers achieved this using a newly-developed material that features millions of tiny silicon pillars, each up to 500 times thinner than a human hair. ‘This new material is

transparent, which means it loses minimal energy from the light,’ said co-leader of the research Dr Sergey Kruk. The pillars in the material allow the light to be manipulated to the degree of complexity required to form holographic images. These are produced using infrared light and can currently be made to 0.75mm in size, enabling 5mm images to be created at a distance of 10mm. ‘Our ability to structure

materials at the nanoscale allows the device to achieve new optical properties that go beyond the properties of natural materials,’ Dr Kruk continued. ‘The holograms we | @electrooptics New compact 1.5 inch, 2 inch and 3 inch photomultiplier tubes

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making photons count March 2017 Electro Optics 9

Star Wars / 20th Century Fox

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