Researchers have developed a new method to display highly realistic holographic images using “holobricks” that can be stacked to generate large-scale holograms.
The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and Disney Research, have developed a proof-of-concept holobrick, which can stitch holograms together to form a large, transparent 3D image. This is the first time this technology has been demonstrated and opens the door to scalable 3D holographic displays. The results are published in the journal Light: science and applications.
As technology develops, people want high-quality viewing experiences, from 2D high-resolution television to 3D holographic augmented or virtual reality, and large, true 3D displays. These screens have to support a significant amount of data flow: for a Full HD 2D screen, the information data rate is around three gigabits per second (Gb/s), but a 3D screen of the same resolution would require a throughput of three terabits per second, which is not yet available.
Holographic displays can reconstruct high quality images for true 3D visual perception. They are considered the ultimate display technology for connecting the real and virtual worlds for immersive experiences.
“Delivering an adequate 3D experience using current technology is a huge challenge,” said Professor Daping Chu from Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, who led the research. “Over the past ten years, we have worked with our industry partners to develop holographic displays that enable the simultaneous realization of large size and large field of view, which must be paired with a hologram with large content. optical information.
However, the informative information content of current holograms is far superior to the display capabilities of current light engines, known as spatial light modulators, due to their limited spatial bandwidth product.
For 2D screens, it is common to tile small screens together to form a large screen. The approach explored here is similar, but for 3D displays, which has never been done before. “Stitching together pieces of 3D images is not trivial, as the final image should be considered consistent from all angles and depths,” said Chu, who is also director of the Center for Advanced Photonics and Electronics ( CAPE). “It’s just not possible to directly mosaic 3D images in real space.”
To address this challenge, researchers developed the holobrick unit, based on coarse integrated holographic displays for angularly tiled 3D images, a concept developed at CAPE with Disney Research about seven years ago.
Each of the holobricks uses a high information bandwidth spatial light modulator for information delivery in conjunction with coarse integrated optics, to form the angle-tiled 3D holograms with large viewing areas and fields of view.
Careful optical design ensures that the holographic fringe pattern fills the entire face of the holobrick, so multiple holobricks can be seamlessly stacked to form a spatially scalable 3D holographic image display capable of both a wide field of view angle and large size.
The proof of concept developed by the researchers consists of two perfectly tiled holobricks. Each full-color brick is 1024 × 768 pixels, with a 40° field of view and 24 frames per second, to display tiled holograms for full 3D images.
“There are still many challenges to create ultra-wide 3D displays with wide viewing angles, like a holographic 3D wall,” Chu said. “We hope that this work can provide a promising way to solve this problem based on the currently limited display capability of spatial light modulators.”
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