Graphene could help bring us a Star Wars-like 3D hologram

28 Apr 2015

Illustration of 3D hologram technology in Star Wars universe. Image via Star Wars Wiki

Australian researchers have said they’ve made a major step towards one day being able to have 3D holograms, similar to the ones seen in Star Wars, with their newly-developed graphene-based display.

The ability to project a 3D image to an audience has eluded researchers for years, with very limited success in projecting 2D images.

Now, however, a team from Queensland’s Griffith University, led by Dr Qin Li, has said that a carbon-graphene based display offers the best solution to date that allows viewing of a projected object from a variety of different angles, each at 52 degrees, which is based off a light-bending holographic display.

Future Human

According to CNet, to create the actual hologram, the team used a combination of graphene and oxygen (graphene oxide) that was zapped with lasers to heat up the compound, which leads to the formation of a pixel that responds to bending light.

3D hologram developed by Griffith University

The 1cm hologram image created by Griffith University. Image via Li et al/Nature Communications

Publishing the findings in Nature, the team said it is still a long way from achieving anything remotely close to the one so famously shown in Stat Wars with Princess Leia, and has so far only achieved a hologram measuring 1cm in size, in the form of two hot-air balloons over a chequered board.

It is envisioned that this technology could one day be adapted for use in our most common devices, ranging from mobile phones, to wearables and TVs in people’s homes.

“While there is still work to be done, the prospect is of 3D images seemingly leaping out of the screens…without the need for cumbersome accessories such as 3D glasses,” Qin Li said.

There are also potential environmental benefits to using a hologram based off graphene technology due to the fact the team claims it would remove the need for iridium, a precious metal currently used in mobile phones that is believed to have originated from asteroid collisions during the major dinosaur extinction.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic