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Introduction

Overview

Optical Table

Environment

Laser

Beamsplitter

Mirrors/Lenses

Table Mounts

Optic Mounts

Plate Holder

Objects/Scenes

Hardcopy

Resources

Environment

The room where the optical table is to be located should be on the ground floor of your home or in your basement. This allows the earth to dampen all or most ground vibrations caused by movement in adjacent rooms or nearby vehicular traffic. It is essential that no ground vibrations reach the table surface during the exposure of the hologram. The optical table discussed previously will dampen ground vibrations nicely. In the section on Creating Transmission & Reflection Holograms, I will show you how to set up a Michelson interferometer to visualize these potential vibrations as well as other types of movements that can affect your exposure.

The optical table must also be located in a room that can be totally darkened. The reason for this is that when you are ready to expose a hologram, you will be placing a photographic plate in a plate holder (without light-protection) on the optical table and no light other than that from the laser, during the exposure, should impinge on the plate. Your plate processing area must also be in a room that can be totally darkened. Hopefully, your processing area can be in the same room as the optical table or adjacent to it (preferable). The processing area can also be anywhere in your house or in the building where you’re working. The exposed plate can be carried to the processing area in a light-proof box or envelope.

The room in which the optical table is housed should be large enough to accommodate an optical table at least 3 feet x 4 feet with a minimum of 2.5 feet of walking space around the table on three sides. If you can manage this on four sides, that's even better. Also needed is shelving or cupboard space to house photographic plates, optics, optical mounts, and other related items.

If the room is air conditioned by a single air conditioning unit, the unit will need to be turned off at least 30 minutes prior to the exposure. If the room is air conditioned or heated by a central home unit, it will need to be turned off by a thermostat at least 30 minutes prior to the exposure. If you can't turn off the central air conditioning or heating system, such as in a large building, and there's an input vent to the room, you will need to physically block the input vent. Any airflow over or around the optical table will cause the optical components to move during the exposure and destroy the holographic recording. Specifically, the movement of certain components, during the exposure, of more than one-half of the laser light's wavelength, will destroy the image.

The optical table room should be kept clean and no smoking should be allowed. Smoke-related pollutants will eventually build up on optical surfaces and cause distortion and attenuation (absorption) of the laser beam.

 

Revised 5/2/2017