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IFM The Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology

Lab 21 in TFFA06




Rev May 07
1 Introduction
1.1 Background
The Nobel Prize in physics 1971 was awarded to the Hungarian physicist Dennis Gabor, at the time at
Stanford, for his invention and development of holography a method for producing three-
dimensional images. His first theoretical work on the subject was published as early as 1948 in Na-
ture with the title A New Microscopic Principle. The purpose of this work was to improve the image
quality and resolution of electron microscopes. The recording of the hologram was to be created with
monochromatic (same energy) electrons. The display of an image from the hologram was done with
monochromatic light. This resulted in an increase of all distances in the setup by about 100 000.
A hologram (from Greek Holos = whole, complete) is a complex surface pattern created from interfer-
ence between a reference wave front and a wave front reflected by an object. Gabor showed that it is
possible to store a sufficiently large amount of information in a hologram for the purpose of recreating
a three-dimensional image of the object utilizing a plane hologram.
Initially the holographs had to solve many difficult problems. One was to create a monochromatic
light beam with the same characteristics as the electron beam used to record the hologram. Another
problem was that the aberrations of the electron lens used in the initial exposure had to be recreated in
the light-beam used for displaying the image.
The solution of the latter problem was solved in the early sixties with the invention of the laser, our
most coherent light source to date. In the area of holography the work of E. N. Leith and J. Upatnieks
from 1962 has proven to be one of the most useful developments of experimental laser holography.
They showed that with a laser as light source the photographic plate could be placed off line with light
source and object.

1.2 Diffraction gratings

The diffraction gratings used in the introductory physics-courses at IFM are of a type where grooves
have been made on a glass-plate. These are assumed to behave as rectangular gratings acting as a regu-
lar periodic stripe that blocks the light. The diffraction angles will be the same in these two cases but
the relative amplitude will differ, relate to the spectral composition of square and triangular signals. In
fact the amplitude pattern approximates the Fourier transform of the diffraction grating. For a grating
with a variable transmittance following that of a sine-function plus a constant the amplitudes in all but
three directions will be zero. The amplitudes of these three directions are related to the Fourier-
transform of 1 sin t for example. Figure 1 shows two examples of plane waves with different
wavelength incident on sine-gratings with the same spatial-frequency. Sine-gratings are manufactured
with photographic holography.

Figure 1: A: Diffraction from a thin sine-grating generates waves in two

new directions. B: Diffraction from the same grating as in A but with a
shorter light-wavelength results in waves of different directions.

Any wave front can be described as a sum of plane waves (multi-dimensional Fourier-transform) there-
fore the principle of Figure 4 and Figure 5 can be generalized to describe any set of wave fronts. In
holography the reference wave is typically a semi-spherical wave while the object wave can be of arbi-
trary shape.

1.3 The hologram

Simply put, a hologram is a photograph of the interference-fringes created by a combination of reflect-
ed light from an object and light from a reference-beam. These depicted fringes will, when illuminated
by the reference-beam, create diffraction that recreates the object-beam. The inverse holds also true; a
hologram illuminated with the object-beam will recreate the reference-beam.
Since any physically relevant wave function can be described as the sum of plane waves and all phe-
nomena involved are linear, the principle of Figure 4 and Figure 5 can be generalized to describe any
combination of waves.
If the hologram is thin relative to the wavelength as in Figure 1, Figure 2 and Figure 3 two new wave
fronts will be created, if the hologram is thick as in Figure 4, Figure 5, Figure 6 only one new wave
front is created.

Figure 2: The interference-pattern of a plane wave and a spherical wave.

Note that it is not possible to decide if the spherical wave comes from the
left or the right by just looking at the two-dimensional interference pattern.

Figure 3: Reconstruction of a two-dimensional hologram will give both the

object-beam (left) and the conjugate of the object-beam (right). If the dif-
fraction grating has thickness the conjugated beam will be attenuated. If
the hologram is flipped over and illuminated from the other side the oppo-
site will happen, the conjugated object-beam will be the more intense of
the two. The transmitted reference-beam is not shown.

Figure 4: A cutout of the photographic emulsion illuminated by two plane
waves. One could be considered as a reference-beam and the other as an
object-beam. Light grey lines represent positive crests and dark grey lines
negative crests. In points where two waves interfere constructively the film
will turn black and in points where the sum of the two waves always are
zero the film will remain transparent after developing. The photosensitive
emulsion is several wavelengths thick in a typical film/plate.

Figure 5: The reconstruction of the original waves. Due to the fact that the
emulsion is thick only one of the two diffraction waves are recreated.

Figure 6: A three-dimensional Interference pattern. Here the conjugated

wave front will be attenuated relative the un-conjugated wave front.

A mathematical formulation
Using the classical j -method, the intensities of the reference beam R and the object beam O relates
to the intensity at the holographic plate I H as:
2 2 2
I H O R O R OR* O* R

Here A* denotes the complex conjugate of A . Since R is our reference we can define it to be real. If
the plate is developed and brought back to the original position, the effect of this on the reference-beam
can be written:

2 2 2 2 2

attenuated reconstructed conjugated

reference-beam object-beam object-beam

Here we get all three wave fronts, the transmitted reference beam, the reconstructed object beam and
the conjugated object beam.

Transmission hologram
If the reference beam and the object beam is incident on the same side of the plate the fringes will pri-
marily run normal to the photographic plate, like in Figure 4. Upon reconstruction the image can be
viewed from the opposite site of the plate relative the reference beam. If the reference beam used to
recreate the image has a slightly different wavelength than the original reference beam, the size of the
object will differ. If the reference beam is composed of to many different wavelengths, many images
with different sizes will overlap and all that can be seen is noise.

Reflection hologram
If the reference beam and the object beam is incident from opposite sides of the plate the fringes will
primarily run parallel to the photographic plate. Letting one beam pass through the plate onto the object
and be reflected back from the object onto the plate creates this type of hologram. These holograms are
not transparent to light with a wavelength different from that used to create them, due to Braggs law
for diffraction, so if illuminated by a white point source an image of the object is still recreated.

1.4 Requirements of equipment

Coherence length
The light from a laser is only locally phase-coherent. Over a sufficiently long distance in space-time the
relative phase becomes random. This means that to get interference the two interfering wave fronts
must not have travelled different paths of too different lengths, the difference must be smaller than .
The spectral width , coherence time t c , and coherence length Lc are related by the expression:

t c c Lc

Photographic emulsion
The distance between interference fringes in a hologram is of the order of half a wavelength. This put
substantial demands on the resolution of the photographic emulsion used to record the hologram. Ordi-
nary black and white film has a resolution of up to 400 lines/mm at a sensitivity of 100 on the ISO-
scale. Light has about 2000 wavelengths/mm so the photographic emulsion used must have a much
higher resolution. The emulsion used has a resolution of more than 3000 lines/mm and a sensitivity of
0.3 on the ISO-scale.
Human perception of image contrast follows a logarithmic behaviour, so an ordinary picture looks right
if it has a transfer function that is a line in a diagram where the axes are in logarithmic scales. Holo-
grams require that the amplitude transmittance of the developed emulsion is directly proportional to the
intensity of the interference fringes so the requirement of the transfer function is also different.

2 Experimental methods
2.1 Classification of Holograms
A hologram can be classified by several factors in the production process.
Type of diffraction pattern.
Surface hologram or volume hologram.
Amplitude hologram or phase hologram.
Transmission hologram or reflection hologram.

2.2 Fresnel hologram

The most common type of contemporary hologram is the Fresnel hologram (near field diffraction).

Figure 7: Topology for the creation of a Fresnel hologram.

The reference beam is a spherical wave (point source). The angle between reference and object beam is
relatively large to avoid overlapping of imaginary image, real image and transmitted reference beam.
This large angle results in a high spatial frequency in the interference pattern and therefore requires a
photographic emulsion with very high resolution. Since emulsions used generally have low sensitivity
the exposure time becomes relatively long. The long exposure time and high spatial frequency requires
good mechanical stability. Differences in the object or the optical paths as small as a quarter of a wave-
length during the exposure results in a total smearing of the interference pattern and a total loss of in-
formation. Object, lenses, mirrors and film must therefore be kept at their relative position during the

2.3 Holographic interferometry

In the section about Fresnel holography it was illustrated that vibrations and deformations of different
kinds could interfere with the hologram. If the disturbances are controlled it is possible to determinate
size and shape of small deformations. This is called Holographic Interferometry of which three types
are presented below.

Real Time Hologram Interferometry Comparison between virtual im-

age and the object
A hologram is exposed and developed in the standard way and is put back to the original position. The
virtual image from the hologram will now coincide with the virtual image from the object. Any small
difference in the object will result in interference between the two images and dark interference fringes
will be visible where the optical path has changed (n 1 / 2) / .
We get an image of the object with black curves similar to altitude curves on a topographical map that
shows the magnitude of the translation that every part of the object has been subject to. If the transla-
tion is illuminated and observed parallel to the translation the translation that results in one interference

cycle will have a magnitude of half a wavelength. In other illumination and observation angles the
translation will have a higher magnitude.

Double exposure of the hologram

The hologram is exposed twice, where half of the exposure time is used for the undisturbed object and
the other half for the disturbed object. At reconstruction the virtual image will have dark interference
fringes or surfaces. Here the fringes result from the two slightly different virtual images recorded in the
hologram. It is important that no other changes in the beam-paths occur between the two exposures.

Time Average Holography Exposure during deformation

If a hologram is made of a vibrating object and the exposure time is longer than the period if the oscil-
lation interference will occur immediately. Since an object vibrating with a single frequency will spend
most of its time at the endpoints of the oscillation the interference pattern from these two endpoints will
dominate the total interference-pattern.

Evaluation of the interferometric image

The result of holographic interferometry is a three dimensional image overlaid with interference fring-
es, where the distance between two fringes corresponds to a change in optical path difference of one
wavelength. Lets calculate the actual deformation of the object from this information.

Figure 8: Difference in optical path length caused by a deformation of C to

C. Here are A the reference source and B the hologram.

From Figure 8 we get that the difference in length is AC AC ' BC BC ' . If the distance AC and
BC is much larger than CC ' (the angles CAC ' and CBC ' are small) the difference can be approxi-
mated by
CC '(cos cos )

And with known wavelength it is then possible to calculate the number of fringes, n , generated by a
deformation d :
d(cos cos )

or, to get the amount of deformation from the number of fringes:
(cos cos )

3 Assignments
N.B! Do not look into the undiverged beam. Do not touch or clean any mirror- or lens-surface. Do not
move any of the elements in the beam-path unless you have to.

3.1 Equipment
A granite slab with a weight of about 500kg rests upon a spring-bed on a wood table make a stable
base for the equipment.
The light source is a CW (Continuous Wave) HeNe laser with an optical output power of 14 mW with
TEM00 (Transverse ElectroMagnetic wave) parallel to the optical axis, at wavelength 632.8 nm, hori-
zontal polarized. Other equipment include:
Shutter, mounted off the granite-base in order to avoid vibrations
Mirrors mounted onto heavy feet and able to rotate around the vertical axis
Spatial filters with a 10 microscope objective that collapses the beam through a diaphragm with
a diameter of 25 m . The diaphragm removes radiation that has been diverged by dust in the air
and dirt on the mirrors
1. Suitable object
2. Water container used in task 3.5
Hologram holder

Figure 9: The actual layout on the hologram-table.

3.2 Processes
Check the beam-paths, that the object is in place and that the difference in path-length between the
two beams is as small as possible by using a thin thread for measuring.
Check that the intensity difference between the two beams is reasonable. The light reflected back
from the object onto the plate should have an intensity of about 1/3 of the reference-beam. Adjust
with a grey filter in the reference-beam-path.
Locate the hologram holder, the metal tank, the laser shutter, the different processing liquids and
set the timer for 5 minutes development.
Close the shutter and turn out the lights.
Fetch a photographic plate from the box without leaving any fingerprints. Hold the plate by the
edges. Do not forget to close the box.
Mount the plate in the hologram holder with the emulsion side towards the object. The emulsion
side feels sticky when touched with a moist finger by the edge. Place the plate in the three holders
so it rests firm in the fixture.
Wait 15s, after the last movement of any equipment on the table so that any vibrations attenuate,
and start the exposure. Be silent during the exposure.
Open the shutter softly for 20 seconds and then close it.
Remove the plate and put it into the developer with the emulsion-side facing up. Develop for 5
minutes. Put the plate in the stop-bath for 20s. Fixate the plate for 5 minutes, after 1 minute in the
fixer some light can be turned on.
Rinse in water for about a minute, for permanent holograms rinse for 15 minutes.
As soon as the plate has dried a reconstruction of the object-beam can be done.

3.3 Assignment: Laser-light reflected off a non-glossy surface.

Illuminate the white painted membrane of object 2 with the diverged object-beam and study the reflect-
ed light from the matte surface. The graininess that is visible is called Speckle pattern.
What happens when you move your head? What happens if you squint (make the aperture of your eye
Any surface that has irregularities large compared to the wavelength will reflect light that has random
phase-shift. When this light passes through an aperture any spatially high frequency components will
get attenuated (spatial low pass filter) and the speckle-pattern will have a structure that is not dependant
on the object but on the observer.

3.4 Assignment: Creation of a hologram from an object

Create a hologram following the instructions above. Select an object of your choice. The object should
diverge red laser-light good to create a strong object-beam.
Hold the hologram in the path of the undiverged laser-beam and put a white screen behind it. What
happens and why?

3.5 Assignment: Double exposure of the hologram

Make a hologram from the white side of object 2, using an exposure time of 12 seconds. After filling
some water in the tank to deform the tank surface with some pressure from the water, expose the plate
for another 12 seconds. Follow the usual procedure for processing of the plate.

3.6 Voluntary assignment: Reflection hologram

Try to create a reflection hologram. The setup is illustrated in Figure 10, block the object-beam in Fig-
ure 9 and use the reference-beam to illuminate both the plate and the object. A reflection hologram can

be viewed with white light. View the hologram with any point source illuminating the plate in approx-
imately the same direction as the reference-beam did during the exposure.

Figure 10: The layout used to create reflection-holograms. Note the differ-
ent position of the plate and that the previous object-beam is blocked out
and only one beam is used.

4 Further reading:
Practical Holography, Graham Saxby, Prentice Hall 1988.
The Making and Evaluation of Holograms, Nils Abramson, Academic Press 1981.
Physical Optics, S. A. Akhmanov, S. Yu. Nikitin, Clarendon Press 1997.