Do It Yourself: A Quick Guide To Making Your Own Hologram

Portable kits contain a laser diode, lens, recording media and processing chemicals that can be set up on a table and operated on batteries.

You need just a small table and some simple tools to quickly make your own hologram. Children can do it for fun and adults could develop it in to a hobby. Though holograms have important industrial applications, they are also a great way to learn some fundamentals of optics and lasers. A hologram kit can be an excellent choice of a gift for a person of any age. There are many sites on the Internet that you can use to buy a kit that contains everything you will need to make your own holograms. You can also buy a kit at a Holography store.

The kit will have a laser diode with housing, a barrel lens and high contrast fringes. The kit will also have a wiring diagram that shows you exactly which parts to connect to each other. The laser diode has to be put in its housing and connected to a battery or to power from a wall unit through a transformer. Never look directly in to a laser beam as it could damage your eyesight. Children must be cautioned about this before they work with a hologram kit. The laser diode produces a beam of laser light that makes the hologram. The laser beam splits in to 2 parts: one bounces off an object and then reaches the recording medium while the second part of the beam reaches the film or plate directly. The hologram is formed by the pattern created at the point where the 2 beams meet. It has a 3 dimensional effect. The high contrast fringes make the image sharp and give it clear edges. Images can be recorded on glass plates or film sheets that come with most kits. Chemicals to process the images on to plates and film are also provided. This chemical processing takes about half an hour and must be done in the dark. You should use gloves when working with the chemicals. Some kits come with instant film that does not require chemical processing but the holograms they produce are neither clear nor sharp. You could also buy the components separately though buying a composite kit is generally more convenient. A kit can be run on batteries or through a transformer drawing power from a mains supply. It is small and can be carried in a briefcase or even a purse and can be set up anywhere.

The hologram needs light from a halogen or a clear incandescent source to be visible and it should therefore be kept at a height that suits children and adults alike. A frosted bulb or a tube light will yield a blurred image.

Holograms have many applications, ranging from the frivolous to the industrial. They will become an increasing part of our lives as the technology merges in to television and other applications that touch daily lives of lay people. Aircraft and some automobile models already use holograms for dial display on windshields. It is important to make young people familiar with the technology by getting them to work with their own hologram making kits.

© High Speed Ventures 2011