convenient illumination by white light rather than by lasers or other monochromaticsources. Rainbow holograms are commonly seen today on credit cards as a securityfeature and on product packaging. These versions of the rainbow transmissionhologram are commonly formed as surface relief patterns in a plastic film, and theyincorporate a reflective aluminium coating that provides the light from "behind" toreconstruct their imagery.Another kind of common hologram, the reflection or Denisyuk hologram, is capableof multicolour image reproduction using a white light illumination source on thesame side of the hologram as the viewer.One of the most promising recent advances in the short history of holography hasbeen the mass production of low-cost solid-state lasers—typically used by themillions in DVD recorders and other applications, but which are sometimes alsouseful for holography. These cheap, compact, solid-state lasers can under somecircumstances compete well with the large, expensive gas lasers previously requiredto make holograms, and are already helping to make holography much moreaccessible to low-budget researchers, artists, and dedicated hobbyists.
Holographic recording processThough holography is often referred to as 3D photography, this is a misconception.A better analogy issound recordingwhere the sound field is encoded in such a waythat it can later be reproduced. In holography, some of the light scattered from anobject or a set of objects falls on the recording medium. A second light beam, knownas the reference beam, also illuminates the recording medium, so thatinterference occurs between the two beams. The resulting light field is an apparently randompattern of varying intensity which is the hologram. It can be shown that if thehologram is illuminated by the original reference beam, a light field isdiffractedbythe reference beam which is identical to the light field which was scattered by theobject or objects. Thus, someone looking into the hologram 'sees' the objects even