What is a Hologram?
Holograms are everywhere – from passports and ID cards to credit cards and comic book covers. So, what exactly is a hologram?
A hologram is a three-dimensional image created through the interference of light beams from a laser or other light source. The word ‘hologram’ comes from the Greek words “holos” meaning whole and “gram” meaning message. It was first coined by Hungarian-British physicist Dennis Gabor in 1948. However, it wasn’t until the invention of the laser in the 1960s that holography became a practical technology.
The holographic process involves recording a laser beam’s interference pattern onto a photographic plate or film. When the pattern is illuminated by another laser beam, the image appears to be hovering in space – as if it’s a three-dimensional object.
This process is possible because of the unique way light behaves: it’s both a particle and a wave. Light waves of different frequencies and wavelengths can combine to create interference patterns that can be captured on film or other surfaces. These patterns are used to create the three-dimensional image of an object.
Holograms have a number of applications, from security features on banknotes to creating virtual reality experiences. They are also used in data storage, by using a laser to record interference patterns onto a surface. When the surface is illuminated with a laser of a different wavelength, the recorded data can be read back.
However, not all three-dimensional images are holograms. Many 3D images you see, such as those in movies or video games, are created through stereoscopic imaging. This involves taking two images of an object, each from a slightly different viewpoint, and overlaying them to create the illusion of depth. This is different from holographic images, which are created using light interference patterns.
In conclusion, holograms are fascinating and versatile images that have come a long way since their creation in the mid-twentieth century. They offer a unique way to display objects in 3D space and have practical applications in fields such as security and data storage. So, the next time you see a hologram, take a moment to appreciate the intricate technology that goes into making one.