There won’t be many people who haven’t seen the iconic moment that Princess Leia appears in holographic form in the film Star Wars: A New Hope.
Well now scientists have claimed that they are now one step closer to turning this rather clever piece of special effects into a full-blown reality.
Physicists from the Australian National University have built a tiny device that they claim creates the highest quality holographic images ever seen.
The incredible device is made up of millions of tiny silicon nanopillars with each one being 500 times thinner than a human hair.
“This new material is transparent, which means it loses minimal energy from the light, and it also does complex manipulations with light,” said Dr Kruk from the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
“Our ability to structure materials at the nanoscale allows the device to achieve new optical properties that go beyond the properties of natural materials. The holograms that we made demonstrate the strong potential of this technology to be used in a range of applications.”
Lead researcher on the project Lei Wang, a PhD student at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering, explained that for him, this was more than just your average project.
“As a child, I learned about the concept of holographic imaging from the Star Wars movies. It’s really cool to be working on an invention that uses the principles of holography depicted in those movies,”
While the technology will have implications for creating the holograms we see and love in the movies, for now its potential is actually in creating the next-generation of optics.
“While research in holography plays an important role in the development of futuristic displays and augmented reality devices, today we are working on many other applications such as ultra-thin and light-weight optical devices for cameras and satellites,” explains Mr Wang.
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