JAN 31, 2018 6:00 AM PST

3-D Projection: Printing with Light

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

A projected image of the earth above a finger tip. Credit: Smalley Lab/BYU via AP

Just when you think we have arrived at the "Star Wars" level technology with the latest hologram platforms, a clearer and more realistic light projecting method emerged. A group of engineering researchers at the Brigham Young University has come up with what they considered a true technology of the future—a three-dimensional images projection that can be viewed from all angles.

The current holographic method projects a recording of a light field on a certain medium which is usually a two-dimensional surface. The resulted display is a fully three-dimensional image of the holographic subject, which can sometimes be seen without the aid of special glasses or other intermediate optics.

Holograms generation require photographic information generated by light field cameras. A light field camera (or plenoptic camera) captures both the intensity of light and the direction that the light rays travel, whereas a conventional camera records only light intensity.

According to Daniel Smalley, an Electric Engineering Professor and the group leader, their projection technology, which relies on trapping dust-like particles as projection medium, is like a three-dimensional printer, when the hologram is just an ordinary two-dimensional printer. “Holograms appear to the eye to be three-dimensional, but all of the magic is happening on a 2-D surface,” he said. “The key is trapping and moving the particles around potential disruptions—like Tony Stark's arm—so the arm is no longer in the way.”

Also known as "volumetric display", the Smalley group’s technology is based on photophoretic optical trapping. Photophoresis is a phenomenon in which small particles suspended in gas or liquids migrate when lit by an intense beam of light. During projection, cellulose particles are suspended mid-air and the display instrument isolates single particle in the photophoretic trap. When the particle is trapped and illuminated with red, green and blue light, it starts to migrate within the free space and scatters light on its course. The accumulated effects of the movement and scattering of all particles as a whole produce a display—a three-dimensional image as the final product.

The Smalley group compared their platform “Optical Trap Display” to 3-D printing with light. So far previous versions of volumetric display use screen-like medium and can easily be disrupted by objects moving in and out of the projection. According to Smalley, the Optical Trap Display projects images without around potential disruptions because it can move particles around them.

Even though the projections have been tiny, Smalley hopes that bigger projections could be materialized in the near future and one day it can be used to help guide medical procedures.

Study of Smalley group’s “Optical Trap Display” was published in the journal Nature.

Pictures in the air: 3D printing with light. Credit: Nature Video

Source: phys.org

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
DEC 09, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Blended solar cells improves efficiency
DEC 09, 2020
Blended solar cells improves efficiency
A study published last month in the journal Macromolecules from researchers at Hiroshima University in Japan reports on ...
DEC 23, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Fiber optic cables manufactured under pressure reduce signal loss
DEC 23, 2020
Fiber optic cables manufactured under pressure reduce signal loss
New research from Penn State and AGC Inc. in Japan reports that the silica glass used in fiber optic cables would be mor ...
JAN 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Potential Range of Mass of Dark Matter Narrows Dramatically
JAN 29, 2021
The Potential Range of Mass of Dark Matter Narrows Dramatically
The part of the universe that we can see, which includes our planet and stars, makes up only around a quarter of the mas ...
FEB 14, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Enhancing fluorescence signals from biomarkers using nanotechnology
FEB 14, 2021
Enhancing fluorescence signals from biomarkers using nanotechnology
In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LM ...
MAR 10, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Where does the energy go in singlet fission?
MAR 10, 2021
Where does the energy go in singlet fission?
New research from scientists at Linköping University, Sweden, describes a recent discovery revealing where the ener ...
MAR 11, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
MAR 11, 2021
More effective way of recycling carbon fibers
A team from the University of Sydney's School of Civil Engineering has designed a method to improve the recycling of ...
Loading Comments...