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Holography is a technique which enables three-dimensional images (holograms) to be made.

It
involves the use of a laser,interference, diffraction, light intensity recording and suitable
illumination of the recording. The image changes as the position and orientation of the viewing
system changes in exactly the same way as if the object were still present, thus making the image
appear three-dimensional.
The holographic recording itself is not an image; it consists of an apparently random structure of
either varying intensity, density or profile.
Overview and history[edit]
The Hungarian-British physicist Dennis Gabor (in Hungarian: Gbor Dnes),
[1][2]
was awarded
the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1971 "for his invention and development of the holographic
method".
[3]
His work, done in the late 1940s, built on pioneering work in the field of X-ray
microscopy by other scientists including Mieczysaw Wolfke in 1920 and WL Bragg in
1939.
[4]
The discovery was an unexpected result of research into improving electron
microscopes at the British Thomson-Houston (BTH) Company in Rugby, England, and the
company filed a patent in December 1947 (patent GB685286). The technique as originally
invented is still used in electron microscopy, where it is known as electron holography, but
optical holography did not really advance until the development of the laser in 1960. The
word holographycomes from the Greek words (hlos; "whole") and (graph;
"writing" or "drawing").


Horizontal symmetric text, by Dieter Jung
The development of the laser enabled the first practical optical holograms that recorded 3D
objects to be made in 1962 by Yuri Denisyukin the Soviet Union
[5]
and by Emmett
Leith and Juris Upatnieks at the University of Michigan, USA.
[6]
Early holograms used silver
halidephotographic emulsions as the recording medium. They were not very efficient as the
produced grating absorbed much of the incident light. Various methods of converting the
variation in transmission to a variation in refractive index (known as "bleaching") were
developed which enabled much more efficient holograms to be produced.
[7][8][9]

Several types of holograms can be made. Transmission holograms, such as those produced by
Leith and Upatnieks, are viewed by shining laser light through them and looking at the
reconstructed image from the side of the hologram opposite the source.
[10]
A later refinement,
the "rainbow transmission" hologram, allows more convenient illumination by white light rather
than by lasers.
[11]
Rainbow holograms are commonly used for security and authentication, for
example, on credit cards and product packaging.
[12]

Another kind of common hologram, the reflection or Denisyuk hologram, can also be viewed
using a white-light illumination source on the same side of the hologram as the viewer and is the
type of hologram normally seen in holographic displays. They are also capable of multicolour-
image reproduction.
[13]

Specular holography is a related technique for making three-dimensional images by controlling
the motion of specularities on a two-dimensional surface.
[14]
It works by reflectively or
refractively manipulating bundles of light rays, whereas Gabor-style holography works by
diffractively reconstructing wavefronts.
Most holograms produced are of static objects but systems for displaying changing scenes on a
holographic volumetric display are now being developed.
[15][16][17]

Holograms can also be used to store, retrieve, and process information optically.
[18]

In its early days, holography required high-power expensive lasers, but nowadays, mass-
produced low-cost semi-conductor or diode lasers, such as those found in millions of DVD
recorders and used in other common applications, can be used to make holograms and have made
holography much more accessible to low-budget researchers, artists and dedicated hobbyists.
It was thought that it would be possible to use X-rays to make holograms of molecules and view
them using visible light. However, X-ray holograms have not been created to date.
[19]

How holography works[edit]


Recording a hologram