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Holograms From Sci-Fi Movies May Soon Become Reality

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A holographic game in the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

A novel device may lead to a new era of holographic images.

Credit: Bad Robot

Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) say they have developed a device that could generate the highest-quality holographic images ever produced and may lead to imaging technologies similar to those seen in science fiction films.

"As a child, I learned about the concept of holographic imaging from the Star Wars movies," notes ANU's Lei Wang. "It's really cool to be working on an invention that uses the principles of holography depicted in those movies."

Wang says the new invention produces the holographic images via infrared light.

ANU professor Sergey Kruk says the device is comprised of millions of tiny silicon pillars up to 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," Kruk notes. "Our ability to structure materials at the nanoscale allows the device to achieve new optical properties that go beyond the properties of natural materials."

Wang thinks the device could supplant bulky components to miniaturize cameras and save costs in space missions by reducing the size and weight of optical systems on spacecraft.

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