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A Hole in One for Holographic Display
(Professor YongKeun Park) Researchers have designed an ultrathin display that can project dynamic, multi-coloured, 3D holographic images, according to a study published in Nature Communications. The system’s critical component is a thin film of titanium filled with tiny holes that precisely correspond with each pixel in a liquid crystal display (LCD) panel. This film acts as a ‘photon sieve’ – each pinhole diffracts light emerging from them widely, resulting in a high-definition 3D image observable from a wide angle. The entire system is very small: they used a 1.8-inch off-the-shelf LCD panel with a resolution of 1024 x 768. The titanium film, attached to the back of the panel, is a mere 300 nanometres thick. “Our approach suggests that holographic displays could be projected from thin devices, like a cell phone,” says Professor YongKeun Park, a physicist at KAIST who led the research. The team demonstrated their approach by producing a hologram of a moving, tri-coloured cube. Specifically, the images are made by pointing differently coloured laser beams made of parallel light rays at the small LCD panel. The photon sieve has a hole for each pixel in the LCD panel. The holes are precisely positioned to correspond to the pixel’s active area. The pinholes diffract the light emerging from them, producing 3D images. Previous studies from Professor Park’s group have used optical diffusors for the same purpose, but the size of the device was bulky and difficult to be operated, and it took a long period of time to calibrate. In the present work, on the other hand, the group tailored their photon sieve to demonstrate a simple, compact and scalable method for 3D holographic display. This technique can be readily applied to existing LCD displays. Applications for holograms have been limited by cumbersome techniques, high computation requirements, and poor image quality. Improving current techniques could lead to a wide variety of applications, including 3D cinema viewing without the need for glasses, watching holographic videos on television and smart phone screens. Figure 1. The actual 3D holographic display, and an electron microscope image of the non-periodic pinholes. Figure 2. Three-dimensional dynamic color hologram operating at 60 Hz
Controlling 3D Behavior of Biological Cells Using Laser Holographic Techniques
A research team led by Professor YongKeun Park of the Physics Department at KAIST has developed an optical manipulation technique that can freely control the position, orientation, and shape of microscopic samples having complex shapes. The study has been published online in Nature Communications on May 22. Conventional optical manipulation techniques called “optical tweezers,” have been used as an invaluable tool for exerting micro-scale force on microscopic particles and manipulating three-dimensional (3-D) positions of particles. Optical tweezers employ a tightly-focused laser whose beam diameter is smaller than one micrometer (1/100 of hair thickness), which can generate attractive force on neighboring microscopic particles moving toward the beam focus. Controlling the positions of the beam focus enabled researchers to hold the particles and move them freely to other locations so they coined the name “optical tweezers,” and have been widely used in various fields of physical and biological studies. So far, most experiments using optical tweezers have been conducted for trapping spherical particles because physical principles can easily predict optical forces and the responding motion of microspheres. For trapping objects having complicated shapes, however, conventional optical tweezers induce unstable motion of such particles, and controllable orientation of such objects is limited, which hinder controlling the 3-D motion of microscopic objects having complex shapes such as living cells. The research team has developed a new optical manipulation technique that can trap complex objects of arbitrary shapes. This technique first measures 3-D structures of an object in real time using a 3-D holographic microscope, which shares the same physical principle of X-Ray CT imaging. Based on the measured 3-D shape of the object, the researchers precisely calculates the shape of light that can stably control the object. When the shape of light is the same as the shape of the object, the energy of the object is minimized, which provides the stable trapping of the object having the complicated shape. Moreover, by controlling the shape of light to have various positions, directions, and shapes of objects, it is possible to freely control the 3-D motion of the object and make the object have a desired shape. This process resembles the generation of a mold for casting a statue having desired shape so the researchers coined the name of the present technique “tomographic mold for optical trapping (TOMOTRAP).” The team succeeded in trapping individual human red blood cells stably, rotating them with desired orientations, folding them in an L-shape, and assembling two red blood cells together to form a new structure. In addition, colon cancer cells having a complex structure could be stably trapped and rotated at desired orientations. All of which have been difficult to be realized by the conventional optical techniques. Professor Park said, “Our technique has the advantage of controlling the 3-D motion of complex shaped objects without knowing prior information about their shape and optical characteristics, and can be applied in various fields including physics, optics, nanotechnology, and medical science.” Dr. Kyoohyun Kim, the lead author of this paper, noted that this technique can induce controlled deformation of biological cells with desired shapes. “This approach can be also applied to real-time monitoring of surgical prognosis of cellular-level surgeries for capturing and deforming cells as well as subcellular organelles,” added Kim. Figure 1. Concept of optical manipulation techniques Figure 2. Experimental setup Figure 3. Research results
A New Approach to 3D Holographic Displays Greatly Improves the Image Quality
With the addition of holographic diffusers or frosted glasses to wavefront modulators, KAIST researchers offer a simple and practical solution to significantly enhance the performance of 3D dynamic holographic displays by 2,600 times. The potential applications of three-dimensional (3D) digital holograms are enormous. In addition to arts and entertainment, various fields including biomedical imaging, scientific visualization, engineering design, and displays could benefit from this technology. For example, creating full-sized organs for 3D analysis by doctors could be helpful, but it remained a challenge owing to the limitation of hologram-generation techniques. A research team led by Professor YongKeun Park of the Physics Department at KAIST has come up with a solution and developed a 3D holographic display that performs more than 2,600 times better than existing 3D holographic displays. This study is expected to improve the limited size and viewing angle of 3D images, which were a major problem of the current holographic displays. The study was published online in Nature Photonics on January 23, 2017. 3D holograms, which often appear in science fiction films, are a familiar technology to the public, but holograms in movies are created with computer graphic effects. Methods for creating true 3D holograms are still being studied in the laboratory. For example, due to the difficulty of generating real 3D images, recent virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices project two different two-dimensional (2D) images onto a viewer to induce optical illusions. To create a 3D hologram that can be viewed without special equipment such as 3D glasses, the wavefront of light must be controlled using wavefront modulators such as spatial light modulators (SLMs) and deformable mirrors (DMs). A wavefront modulator is an optical manipulation device that can control the direction of light propagation. However, the biggest limitation to using these modulators as 3D displays is the number of pixels. The large number of pixels that are packed into high-resolution displays developed in recent years are suitable for a 2D image, and the amount of information contained in those pixels cannot produce a 3D image. For this reason, a 3D image that can be made with existing wavefront modulator technology is 1 cm in size with a narrow viewing angle of 3 degrees, which is far from practicable. As an alternative, KAIST researchers used a DM and added two successive holographic diffusers to scatter light. By scattering light in many directions, this allows for a wider viewing angle and larger image, but results in volume speckle fields, which are caused by the interference of multiple scattered light. Random volume speckle fields cannot be used to display 3D images. To fix the problem, the researchers employed a wavefront-shaping technique to control the fields. As a result, they succeeded in producing an enhanced 3D holographic image with a viewing angle of 35 degrees in a volume of 2 cm in length, width, and height. This yielded a performance that was about 2,600 times stronger than the original image definition generated when they used a DM without a diffuser. Professor Park said, “Scattering light has previously been believed to interfere with the recognition of objects, but we have demonstrated that current 3D displays can be improved significantly with an increased viewing angle and image size by properly controlling the scattered light.” Hyeonseung Yu, who is the lead author of this research article and a doctoral candidate in the Department of Physics, KAIST, noted that this technology signals a good start to develop a practical model for dynamic 3D hologram displays that can be enjoyed without the need for special eyeglasses. “This approach can also be applied to AR and VR technology to enhance the image resolution and viewing angles,” added Yu. The research paper is entitled “Ultrahigh-definition Dynamic 3D Holographic Display by Active Control of Volume Speckle Fields.” Figure 1. Concept of Scattering Display The size and viewing angle of 3D images can be simultaneously increased when a scattering medium (diffuser) is introduced. By controlling the wavefront impinging on the scattering medium, the desired 3D hologram is generated. Figure 2. Experimental Setup The optical set-up consists of a deformable mirror and the scattering medium with two successive holographic diffusers. A high-numerical-aperture imaging unit mounted on a three-axis motorized translational system is utilized for wavefront optimization and imaging. Figure 3. 3D Images Projected This picture shows 3D images in a volume of 2 cm × 2 cm × 2 cm with a viewing angle of 35 degrees using one of the wavefront modulators, a digital micromirror device (DMD). Figure 4. Artist’s Rendition of the Proposed Concept A dynamic 3D hologram of a face is displayed.
Next-Generation Holographic Microscope for 3D Live Cell Imaging
KAIST researchers have developed a revolutionary bio-medical imaging tool, the HT-1, to view and analyze cells, which is commercially available. Professor YongKeun Park of the Physics Department at KAIST and his research team have developed a powerful method for 3D imaging of live cells without staining. The researchers announced the launch of their new microscopic tool, the holotomography (HT)-1, to the global marketplace through a Korean start-up that Professor Park co-founded, TomoCube (www.tomocube.com). Professor Park is a leading researcher in the field of biophotonics and has dedicated much of his research career to working on digital holographic microscopy technology. He collaborated with TomoCube’s R&D team to develop a state-of-the-art, 2D/3D/4D holographic microscope that would allow a real-time label-free visualization of biological cells and tissues. The HT is an optical analogy of X-ray computed tomography (CT). Both X-ray CT and HT share the same physical principle—the inverse of wave scattering. The difference is that HT uses laser illumination whereas X-ray CT uses X-ray beams. From the measurement of multiple 2D holograms of a cell, coupled with various angles of laser illuminations, the 3D refractive index (RI) distribution of the cell can be reconstructed. The reconstructed 3D RI map provides structural and chemical information of the cell including mass, morphology, protein concentration, and dynamics of the cellular membrane. The HT enables users to quantitatively and non-invasively investigate the intrinsic properties of biological cells, for example, dry mass and protein concentration. Some of the research team’s breakthroughs that have leveraged HT’s unique and special capabilities can be found in several recent publications, including a lead article on the simultaneous 3D visualization and position tracking of optically trapped particles which was published in Optica on April 20, 2015. Current fluorescence confocal microscopy techniques require the use of exogenous labeling agents to render high-contrast molecular information. Therefore, drawbacks include possible photo-bleaching, photo-toxicity, and interference with normal molecular activities. Immune or stem cells that need to be reinjected into the body are considered particularly difficult to employ with fluorescence microscopy. “As one of the two currently available, high-resolution tomographic microscopes in the world, I believe that the HT-1 is the best in class regarding specifications and functionality. Users can see 3D/4D live images of cells, without fixing, coating or staining cells. Sample preparation times are reduced from a few days or hours to just a few minutes,” said Professor Park. Two Korean hospitals, Seoul National University Hospital in Bundang and Boramae Hospital in Seoul, are using this microscope currently. The research team has also introduced the HT-1 at the Photonics West Exhibition 2016 that took place on February 16-18 in San Francisco, USA. Professor Park added, “Our technology has set a new paradigm for cell observation under a microscope. I expect that this tomographic microscopy will be more widely used in future in various areas of pharmaceuticals, neuroscience, immunology, hematology, and cell biology.” Figure 1: HT-1 and Its Specifications Figure 2: 3D Images of Representative Biological Cells Taken with the HT-1
Ultra-high Resolution 2-dimentional Real-time Image Capture with Super Lens
Ultra-high Resolution 2-dimentional Real-time Image Capture with Super Lens Applications to high-precision semiconductor processing or intracellular structures observation are possible. A joint research team led by Professors Yongkeun Park and Yong-Hoon Cho from the Department of Physics, KAIST, has succeeded in capturing real-time 2D images at a resolution of 100 nm (nanometers), which was impossible with optical lens due to the diffraction limit of light until now. Its future application includes high-precision semiconductor manufacturing process or observation of intracellular structures. This research follows the past research of the super-lens developed by Professor Park last April, using paint spray to observe images that have three times higher resolution than those discovered by conventional optical lens. Since optical lens utilize the refraction of light, the diffraction limit, which prevents achieving focus smaller than the wavelength of light, has always been a barrier for acquiring high-resolution images. In the past, it was impossible to observe objects less than the size of 200 to 300 nm in the visible light spectrum. In order to solve the problem of near-field extinction due to scattering of light, the research team used spray paint consisting of nano-particles massed with dense scattering materials to obtain high-resolution information. Then, by calculating and restoring the first scattering shape of light using the time reversibility of light, the researchers were able to overcome the diffraction limit. The original position of an object to be observed is obtained by deriving the complex trajectory of the light, and reversing the time to locate the particular position of the object. Professor Park said, “This new technology can be used as the core technology in all fields which require optical measurement and control. The existing electron microscopy cannot observe cells without destroying them, but the new technology allows us to visualize at ultra-high resolution without destruction.” The research results were published online in the 9th edition of Physical Review Letters, a prestigious international journal in the field of physics.
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