Holograms – What are they and how are they made?
ELTRONIS – Specialty & Security Printing is a hologram converter and as of 2015 an associate member of the IHMA (International Hologram Manufacturers Association). Since then our company has reached the processing capacity of more than 1 million units a day, with a total of over half a billion processed holograms so far, that have been integrated in various security documents or labeling solutions for the pharmaceutical industry.
Below we offer the origins of holograms, a brief explanation regarding their creation process and present the various types of security holograms and the features they can incorporate.
What comes to mind when you hear someone mention the word hologram? Many science fiction aficionados would probably recall certain scenes from their favorite movies, in which characters appear, as if from thin air, who can talk and respond to others, just like he or she were really in the room. However holograms are not purely the work of science fiction. As a matter of fact they are utilized all around us. There are holograms on most driver’s licenses, ID cards, credit cards and even the cash currency of some countries. Younger people can also find them laying around at home, as they are present on CD, DVD and software packaging, as well as most everything sold as official merchandise for authentication purposes. The origins of holograms can be traced back two centuries.
Back in the 19th century ingenious inventors have come up with a way to capture and store images on chemically treated paper. This has become known as photography and has revolutionized the way people interact with the world around them.
They appear like three-dimensional photos that have got trapped inside glass, plastic or metal. When you tilt a credit card hologram you’ll see the image of a bird flying inside the card. What makes holograms different from an ordinary photograph? A hologram is a cross between what happens when you take a photograph and what happens when you look at something for real. Like a photograph, a hologram is a permanent record of the light reflected off an object. However a hologram also looks real and three-dimensional and moves as you look around it, just like a real object. This is due to the unique way in which holograms are made.
A hologram is made by reflecting a laser beam off the object you want to capture. As a matter of fact the laser beam is split into two separate halves by shining it through a half-mirror (a piece of glass coated with a thin layer of silver, so that half the laser light is reflected and half passes through – sometimes called a semi-silvered mirror). One half of the beam bounces off a mirror, hits the object, and reflects onto the photographic plate inside which the hologram will be created. This is called an object beam. The other half of the beam bounces off another mirror and hits the same photographic plate. This one is called a reference beam. The hologram forms where the two beams meet up in the plate.