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Like being there: The next generation of 3-D holograms

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Posted October 30, 2015

Imagine watching the World Cup or the Super Bowl in 3-D in the comfort of your own home. That option may be available sooner than you think. With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), optical scientist Nasser Peyghambarian and his team at the University of Arizona are working to make next-generation holograms possible. The researchers foresee the day, possibly within the next decade, when laser-generated holograms will be transmitted anywhere in the world, in real time.

New research led by scientists at Michigan Technological University, along with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Mainz University, analyzes the mixing of drier air with water-saturated air in clouds using holographic imaging and an airborne laboratory. Raymond Shaw, a Michigan Tech physicist, looks at the smallest part of clouds: droplets. To understand groups of droplets, Shaw and NCAR researchers flew airplanes through fluffy cumulus clouds in Wyoming and Colorado. Aboard the plane, the team took detailed 3-D images with an instrument called the Holographic Detector for Clouds (HOLODEC--after the "Star Trek" holodeck).  Image credit: NCAR

New research led by scientists at Michigan Technological University, along with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Mainz University, analyzes the mixing of drier air with water-saturated air in clouds using holographic imaging and an airborne laboratory. Raymond Shaw, a Michigan Tech physicist, looks at the smallest part of clouds: droplets. To understand groups of droplets, Shaw and NCAR researchers flew airplanes through fluffy cumulus clouds in Wyoming and Colorado. Aboard the plane, the team took detailed 3-D images with an instrument called the Holographic Detector for Clouds (HOLODEC–after the “Star Trek” holodeck). Image credit: NCAR

Transmitting a video rate hologram takes an enormous amount of bandwidth and power–think 10,000 times the rates for high-definition television. At the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN), the vision is to create transformative technologies for optical access networks that can do just that–transmit huge amounts of data to a broad population anywhere, at any time. The broader impacts of CIAN’s research could be felt in almost every home. Ultra-high data bandwidth and cost effective services could contribute to business innovation, improve educational opportunities, enhance distribution of medical services, minimize the environmental impact from infrastructure and pollution, enable new and varied entertainment opportunities, and increase overall national security, just to name a few possibilities.

CIAN is one of the NSF Engineering Research Centers, which are interdisciplinary, multi-institutional centers that join academia, industry and government in partnership to produce transformational engineered systems, along with engineering graduates who are adept at innovation and primed for leadership in the global economy. CIAN is a multi-institutional research effort consisting of the University of Arizona (lead) and its partner institutions–the University of California at San Diego, the University of Southern California, the California Institute of Technology, the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, the University of California at Los Angeles, Norfolk State University and Tuskegee University.

The research in this episode was supported by NSF award #0812072, NSF Engineering Research Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN).

Source: NSF

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