Holograms could soon become the next flagship smartphone feature

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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (StudyFinds.org) — Holograms could become the next big smartphone feature after scientists announced they’ve created new light sensors inside a camera. The sensor can detect the polarization of light to create 3D images without the need for a bulky filter, according to the team in South Korea.

Until now, viewing holograms was only possible using a large, specialized camera equipped with a polarizing filter. However, scientists at the Korea Institute of Science and Technology have found a solution that means they could soon become part of people’s daily lives.

“Research on downsizing and integrating individual elements is needed to ultimately miniaturize holographic systems. The results of our research will lay the foundation for the future development of miniaturized holographic camera sensor modules,” study author Dr. Do Hwang said in a press release.

How did scientists make a filter small enough to project holograms?

Digital cameras and smartphones contain a type of sensor called a photodiode which converts light into current signals. Giving these sensors the ability to detect polarized light would provide them with new information and give them the ability to store 3D holograms.

Previous attempts to improve these sensors in phones with polarized filters missed the mark because they were simply too big. While sensors are less than a micrometer, bias filters are several hundred micrometers long.

To overcome this, the researchers developed photodiodes using two semiconductor materials, rhenium diselenide and tungsten diselenide, also known as n-type and p-type. This allowed the device to detect different wavelengths of light ranging from ultraviolet to near infrared.

It was even able to detect polarization features in the near-infrared region, the study reveals. The researchers used the photodiodes to create an image sensor capable of capturing holograms. Their new technology could open the door to a range of new visual technologies.

“The new sensor can additionally detect near-infrared light, as well as previously undetectable visible light, opening up new opportunities in various fields such as 3D night vision, autonomous driving, biotechnology, and near-infrared data acquisition for analysis and restoration of cultural assets,” concludes study co-author Dr. Min-Chul Park.

The results are published in the journal ACS Nano.

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