Chip miniaturizes holography

June 16/23, 2004

Researchers from Chiba University and the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research (RIKEN) in Japan have built a hologram generator on a single circuit board.

The device could eventually be used for three-dimensional television, three-dimensional visualization of statistics, and three-dimensional medical imaging.

The researchers' system consists of a special-purpose computer chip and a high-resolution liquid-crystal display panel. The system generates holograms on the screen with a half second delay for an object that consists of 1,000 points, according to the researchers.

The key to generating a hologram in near real-time is being able to compute a very large number of pixels very quickly. A good three-dimensional picture must have a dot pitch, or pixel size, of less than than 5 microns to look right to both eyes. A hologram that is 10 centimeters by 10 centimeters with a 5-micron dot pitch contains 20,000 by 20,000 pixels.

A real-time reconstruction of an image with that many pixels requires a computation speed faster than today's computers by one million times, according to the researchers. The researchers' scheme speeds the computation by programming the chip to calculate the data in parallel streams. The scheme is also scalable; multiple chips can be used to increase the speed of the system or the size of the image.

The device could be used in practical applications in five to ten years, according to the researchers. The work appeared in the May 3, 2004 issue of Optics Express.

Page One

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