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After more than four years of research, scientists from MIT can now control light at unprecedented speeds, steer the beam in a specific direction, and manipulate the light’s intensity, bringing us close than ever before to realizing hologram technology.
It is a programmable, wireless spatial light regulator, or SLM, that can manipulate light at the wavelength scale with “orders of magnitude” faster than existing commercial devices, MIT said.
“Generating a freestanding 3D hologram would require extremely precise and fast control of light beyond the capabilities of existing technologies, which are based on liquid crystals or micromirrors,” MIT said.
Researchers used an array of photonic crystal microcavities to achieve this goal. Upon entering the cavity, the light bounces more than 100,000 times and leaks into space.
The process takes just a nanosecond – or one billionth of a second – but it is enough for the device to catch the light and control how it escapes by manipulating the microcavities.
A specially developed algorithm forms the escaping light into a beam, which researchers demonstrated can be quickly and precisely steered in the direction they want. The device controls the light via a micro-LED display.
The research was published in Nature Photonics journal and reported on by cybernews.com.
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