Holography is the only visual recording and playback
process that can record our three-dimensional world on a
two-dimensional recording medium and playback the original
object or scene, to the unaided eyes, as a three dimensional
image. The image demonstrates complete parallax and
depth-of-field. The image floats in space either behind, in
front of, or straddling the recording medium.
holography dates from 1947, when Dennis Gabor, a scientist
researching ways to improve the resolution of the electron
microscope, develop what he called holography. Gabor
theorized in 1947 that each crest of the wave pattern contains
the whole information of its original source, and that this
information could be stored on film and reproduced. This is
why it is called a hologram. This was an
amazing discovery given that Gabor did not have at his
disposal modern laser light sources considered key to modern
holography. Some twenty-three years later, in 1960, the modern
laser was invented and serious work in holography began. In
1971 Dr. Dennis Gabor was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics
for his work in holography.
It was two University of Michigan researchers who, in 1962,
theorized that holography could be used as a three dimensional
visual presentation. These individuals, Emmett Leigh and Juris
Upatnieks, happened upon Gabor's work and decided to apply his
theory with the newly invented laser light sources. The result
was the first laser transmission hologram of 3-D objects.
These transmission holograms produced images with clarity and
realistic depth. Unfortunately, these transmission holograms
required laser light to view the holographic image.
The work of Leigh and Upatnieks brought about today's modern
holography equipment. The use of lasers, mirrors, splitters
and lenses used in laboratories around the world for creating
holographic images can be credited to their work. Leigh and
Upatnieks also learned the importance of stability in the
holography lab. Unlike modern photographic film which can be
exposed for a fraction of a second, many holographic images
take seconds or even minutes to expose to a photographic
plate. During the exposure, even the slightest movement can
destroy the exposure and require starting over again.
Like so many scientific advancements, holography was
simultaneously being developed by other scientists. It was a
Russian, Uri Denisyuk, who, in 1962, brought the work of
Gabriel Lipmann (1908 Nobel Laureate) to holography and
produced the first holograms that could be viewed in regular
Advancements in laser technology also served to broaden the
possibilities of holography. The pulsed - ruby laser,
developed by Dr. T. H. Maimam of the Hughes Aircraft
Corporation in 1960, was such an advancement. The pulsed -
ruby laser system emits a very powerful burst of light that
lasts only a few billionths of a second. This allowed
holographic plates to be exposed much more quickly. As a
result one could now produce holograms of high-speed events,
such as a bullet in flight, and of living subjects.
Perhaps the most important result of Stephen Benton's work was
that it lead to the ability to mass produce holographic images
using optical embossing techniques. Embossing allowed the
images to be reproduced by a press that stamped the image into
plastic surfaces. With costs very low as a result of the
embossing techniques, the publishing, advertising, and banking
industries, are now using embossed holograms.
scientist Denis Gabor invents holography (for which he
is awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1971); he made
two-dimensional (flat image) holograms with a mercury
arc lamp using exposures of many hours.
Denisyuk invented volume holography, the process used to
make white light reflection holograms. He also used
mercury arc lamps as the light source. Prof Denisyuk was
awarded the Lenin Prize in 1970 (roughly the Soviet
equivalent of the Nobel Prize).
H Maiman made the first device for light amplification
by stimulated emission of radiation – or laser,
providing a more powerful source of the coherent,
monochrome light required to produce holograms.
Leith and Juris Upatnieks gradually invent the off-axis
reference beam technique, using a laser very soon after
its invention to make the first laser transmission
hologram in 1962.
Benton invents white light transmission, or rainbow
holograms a technique that means transmission holograms
can be seen in ordinary light.
Museum of Holography was founded in
as an international center for the understanding and
advancement of holography.
Foster makes the first mechanically produced hologram,
converting the interference lines of a rainbow hologram
into a surface relief pattern.
McGrew, working with the Diffraction Company, develops
an embossing mass production technique for surface
also invents 2D3D holograms to create layering of flat
images, making embossed holograms easier to
MasterCard adds a hologram to its payment cards to
combat fraud. The following year Visa follows suit.
Hershey Corp uses a licensed image of ET® on 2D3D
hologram stickers as a promotion for its chocolate
confectionary, Reese’s Pieces, the first major brand
to use a hologram for promotion
March issue of National Geographic features a hologram
on the front cover. 11 million were produced.
Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky is the first major brand to
use a hologram to combat product counterfeiting
becomes the first pharmaceutical company to use
holograms for brand protection, on Zantac which
then the world’s best-selling drug brand.
launches its holographic photopolymer for
production of white light reflection, or volume,
first appear on banknotes (the Austrian 500 schilling).
Digital holography makes it debut in the form of dot
Beecham launches Aquafresh® Whitening toothpaste in the
in a carton covered in holographic laminate, the first
time holographic packaging has been used for branding.
is the first country to use a hologram on its standard
sales of holograms reach $1.09 billion
Euro banknotes go into circulation with a hologram on
all seven denominations.
Benton, inventor of rainbow holograms, dies
Leith, inventor of off-axis laser transmission