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New 3D 'holograms' are inspired by Star Wars

* 3D-holograms.jpgStar Wars-inspired 3D holograms powered by clever chemistry could have engineering applications.

Alexander Lippert, a chemist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, has developed a new low-cost technology that uses photoswitch molecules to create 3D light structures. It could have uses in biomedical imaging, education, entertainment and engineering.

"Our idea was to use chemistry and special photoswitch molecules to make a 3-D display that delivers a 360-degree view," Lippert said. "It's not a hologram, it's really three-dimensionally structured light."

Unlike current methods of 3D viewing, which trick the eyes into perceiving depth, Lippert's technology creates structures of light with genuine depth. "Our display is not tricking your brain," said Lippert. "We've used chemistry to structure light in three actual dimensions, so no tricks, just a real three-dimensional light structure. We call it a 3-D digital light photoactivatable dye display, or 3-D Light Pad for short, and it's much more like what we see in real life."

12th July 2017

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