Holograms on Fifth Floor



In this display, you may notice some orange material between two pieces of glass. This is a special mixture of materials that you can use to make holograms. While the word “hologram” conjures up mental images from across sci-fi movies, they’re actually a real optical process. A hologram is a special optical element that makes light appear to be coming from an object even when an object isn’t actually there. Picture a ball floating in a pool, and now picture a water wave reflecting off of it. You can likely see the wave bouncing off of the ball picking up the shape of the ball in the reflection. Light, which also acts as a wave, picks up information from the objects it reflects off of that we eventually experience as shapes and colors in our eyes. A hologram is a way to make the light waves appear to be coming from an object artificially, making three-dimensional objects appear from behind or in front of these flat pieces of glass. When these hologram plates are being used, an electrical voltage is applied across them via transparent electrodes etched into the pieces of glass. A laser beam controlled by a computer program is used to write the hologram across the material. Once it’s done, the three-dimensional image can be seen. This material was designed in the 3D holography lab here at the college.