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Proceedings Paper

Fulfilling the promise of holographic optical elements
Author(s): Gaylord E. Moss
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Paper Abstract

Consider the whole class of holographic optical elements which either contain pictorial image information or have the ability to modify wavefronts. Even after many years of development, there are pitifully few marketable applications. The visionary promises that holography would create a revolution in the optics and display industries have not been fulfilled. Time has shown that, while it was relatively simple to dream up ideas for myriad applications, these ideas have generally not moved beyond laboratory demonstrations. Exceptions are a few items such as optical elements for supermarket scanners, head-up displays and laser diode lenses. This paper addresses: 1. The many promises of holographic elements 2. The difficulties of practical implementation 3. A reassessment of research and development priorities To give simple examples of these points, they are discussed mainly as they apply to one type of holographic application: automotive displays. These familiar displays give a clear example of both the promises and difficulties that holographic elements present in the world of high volume, low-costproduction. Automotive displays could be considered as a trivial application alongside more interesting fundamental research programs or high cost, sophisticated military applications. One might even consider "trivial" automotive displays to be a disreputable subject for serious researchers. The case is made that exactly the opposite is true. The resources for large scale development exist only in a healthy commercial market. An example is the Japanese funding of high technology through commercial product development. This has been shown to be effective in the development of other technologies, such as ceramics, semiconductors, solar cells and composite materials. In like manner, if holography is to become an economically important technology, more and more competent researchers must start looking outside the universities and military laboratories for support. They must involve themselves in some of the "trivial" commercial applications.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 1990
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 1211, Computer and Optically Formed Holographic Optics, (1 May 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.17956
Show Author Affiliations
Gaylord E. Moss, Hughes Aircraft Co. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1211:
Computer and Optically Formed Holographic Optics
Ivan Cindrich; Sing H. Lee, Editor(s)

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