Holograms are two-dimensional images that show three-dimensional objects from many angles. Although holograms have fun applications, they are used most often as security devices on credit cards, clothing and tickets. They are created using a laser reflected onto holographic film. There are two types of holography: reflection and transmission. Both types can be made at home using a hologram kit. The reflection method is easier, and you should start with this type of holography before moving onto the transmission method. Nevertheless, the transmission method allows holograms to depict spaces larger than the holographic film's dimension, whereas the reflection method can only represent an object the same size as the film. These hologram kits start at £65 US as of June 2011 and are available online.
Choose a dark space and stable work surface on which to produce the hologram. There should not be any vibration or movement in the space. You should not have any bright light sources other than the laser in the room.
Set up the object of which you would like to create a hologram. The object should be ceramic or metal, although other materials, such as plastic or rubber, can be used for lower-quality images. Ceramics and metals will not warp with the heat of the laser, whereas plastics will deform. Also, do not use soft objects or objects with fur -- the surfaces of these objects will move as the hologram is recorded, creating a poor image.
Attach the laser to a clothes pin and place the pin in a cup of sand to stabilise the laser. Alternatively, you can use a lab stand to stabilise the laser.
Place the laser 14 to 16 inches in front of the hologram object. Turn the laser on and ensure the light is shining evenly across the object by placing a surface behind the object and verifying a crisp, clear silhouette of the object. Remove the surface before creating the hologram.
Place the holographic film plate or sheet directly in front of the object. Ensure the laser is off. The laser will shine directly through the film plate or sheet to the hologram object.
Shine the laser through the film plate or sheet, onto the object, for 10 to 20 seconds. Turn off the laser and place the film plate or sheet into the chemical processing trays, following the directions provided with holograph kit. After the film has been processed, some kits come with a wetting agent to improve the clarity of the hologram. If your kit came with the wetting agent, use it on the hologram film.
Allow your hologram film to dry and view the hologram to see your three-dimensional depiction.
Try the transmission holography method by following the steps above, yet allowing the hologram object to reflect the light onto the film plate or sheet, rather than through the film plate or sheet. This is accomplished by placing the object at a 30-to-45-degree angle to the laser and the film plate or sheet at a 30-to-45-degree angle to the object, creating a 60-to-90-degree angle between the film and the laser. In any case, the film should be baffled to block direct light from the laser -- it should accept only the light reflected from the hologram object.
Do not look directly into the laser. The beam is extremely powerful and can burn or blind you.
Tips and warnings
- Do not look directly into the laser. The beam is extremely powerful and can burn or blind you.