To make a holograph

Keywords: to make a holograph
Description: With a new kit that uses a special film, you can now make your very own holograms. By Gary Krakow.

The first hologram I remember seeing was in the first "Star Wars" movie -- the projected, three-dimensional picture of Princess Leia. Today, holograms are everywhere -- just take a look at your credit card or driver’s license.

Holograms are very cool, but I never thought I could make one in my own home. I always thought that producing one required lots of special, expensive equipment, plus a lot of time, effort and expertise. For large-scale, professional holograms that’s true -- but now one hologram producer has created an amazing kit that simplifies the entire procedure.

Holograms are three-dimensional images produced by capturing a laser light interface pattern on special film. Laser light is used because it is a very pure source of one color (wavelength) of light with very orderly waves. The word hologram comes from two Greek words holos (whole) and gramma (picture).

To make a hologram, a laser light is split into two different beams. One is reflected off of an object and then scattered to the film, while the other beam goes directly to the film. The two beams meet at the film, causing a pattern of microscopic bright and dark lines. The film captures this pattern, which is the hologram.

To view the hologram when it’s done, you usually have to develop the film then place it back in its original position and illuminate it with only one beam coming directly from the laser. The recorded holographic interference pattern will now diffract the laser light passing through it, creating a 3D image of the original object as if it was still there.

It sounds very complicated and from what Paul Christie, President and C.T.O. of Liti Holographics told me, it is.  Christie is what I would call a hologram geek.  He’s been into these laser photos for years and years.  He has a professional hologram business in Newport News, Va. and in his spare time he tinkers.

At his business, Christie and company use industrial-size lasers and special, sophisticated vibration-free equipment. Professional holograms require zero motion during the process and must be produced in totally dark rooms. That’s for professional holograms.

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