header image
sub header image
header divider
create holograms header



SB Transmission



SB Reflection

MB Transmission

MB Reflection




Supplies, Plates, and Processing

Before you start setting up your first transmission hologram arrangement, there's a few more items you need to acquire and procedures you need to learn about so you're ready to record and process your hologram once your arrangement is set up. This section covers:

Please read completely all of the information in this section before continuing. Please refer to the Resources link for suppliers, items' specifications, and costs.

Additional Supplies Needed Now for Single-beam Setups

Additional Supplies Needed Later for Multi-beam Setups

Holography Plates and Films

Holography plates and films are available through Integraf. Integraf supplies the following two plate and film types in sizes 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch, 4 inch x 5 inch, and larger:

Since you are using a He-Ne red laser with an output wavelength of 633 nm, you will want to use PFG-01 plates and films. The exposure sensitivity has been included here for you to use when calculating your exposure time if you decide to use a power meter to measure your beam intensities.

Processing Chemicals and How to Prepare Them

The following table shows how to mix one liter (1.06 quarts) of developer A, developer B, stop bath, bleach, and photoflo. Mix the developers and bleach at 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), then allow to cool to room temperature of ~70 degrees F (21 degrees C) for processing. The stop bath and photoflo can be mixed at room temperature. Use the 1-liter measuring cup and stirring rod for mixing the chemicals. Wash the cup thoroughly after mixing each chemical with hot running water. After mixing each developer, the stop bath, bleach, and photoflo, place them in their own one quart bottles, label and date them. I label the two parts for the developer Pyrochrome for Part A and Sodium Carbonate for Part B. I label the remaining three Stop, Bleach, and Photoflo.

All chemicals can be dangerous in one way or another. Please follow the safety considerations written on the label of each chemical container. Wear rubber or surgical gloves, dust mask, apron, and safety goggles when mixing chemicals. This web site and its author are in no way liable for your use of these chemicals.

Here is a list of the chemicals you will need to purchase:

Mixing Chemicals for Processing

Pyrochrome DeveloperPart APart B
 start with 750 ml distilled water at 100° F (38° C)start with 750 ml distilled water at 100° F (38° C)
add 10 gm Pyrogallol and stir until dissolvedadd 60 gm sodium carbonate and stir until dissolved
add distilled water at ~70° F (~21° C) to make one liter (1000 ml)add distilled water at ~70° F (~21° C) to make one liter
(1000 ml)
Combine equal parts A and B just before developing plate in a 5" x 7" development tray. Use 6 oz of both A and B
(totaling 12 oz). Used developer has an 8 hour tray life if covered. Two day life in glass or plastic bottle. 16 oz. can process four 4" x 5" holograms.
Kodak Indicator Stop Bath1 part stop bath to 32 parts distilled water mixed at ~70° F
Bleach start with 750 ml distilled water at 100° F (38° C)
 add 2 gm potassium dichromate and stir until dissolved
add 2 ml concentrated sulfuric acid. Stir well.
add distilled water at ~70° F to make one liter
Photofloadd 1 part Photoflo to 200 parts distilled water at ~70° F. Stir.

The freshly mixed color of the stop bath is bright yellow and the color of the bleach is a bright orange-yellow. Add 10 ounces to each of their developing trays. The stop bath and bleach can be used many times for many holograms, so when you've finished your processing for the evening, you can pour these solutions back into their quart bottles. When the stop bath starts to go bad, it will turn a dark yellow-orange with a slight green tinge. When the bleach starts to go bad, it will turn a dark orange with a slight green tinge.

You should label each of the developing trays on the side with the words that indicate that solution's function (developer, stop, bleach, photoflo, and wash) and use the same tray each time for that solution.

Note: Use the pipette and dispenser to pull 2 ml of sulfuric acid out of its bottle. Never pull acid into the dispenser. When finished with the pipette, remove it from the dispenser and run hot tap water through it from the end that went into the dispenser for one minute. Also wash the outside of the pipette.

Additional note: make sure you are purchasing 98% (concentrated) sulfur acid. Photographer's Formulary sells only 49% sulfuric acid. If you buy from them, then you need to use 4ml of sulfuric acid per liter.

Processing Procedures

All tray solutions should be at room temperature while processing (~70° F plus or minus 3°) as well as washing the plate in a sink between certain processing steps. Always wear surgical gloves during all the steps of the processing procedure. The gloves will protect your hands from the processing solutions. If you notice that solutions are leaking into a glove, remove it, wash your hands, and get a new glove. All of the chemicals in their diluted form in their solutions won't really hurt your hands for short periods of time. If a glove leaks while using the developer, your fingers may turn slightly brown but this will go away after a day or so. I rarely have a leakage problem with my gloves.

Note: The plus or minus factor of 3° is optimal, but not critical. During the summer, I'll have tap water temperatures up to, and sometimes above, 80° F (27° C) when my tray temperatures are at ~70° (~21° C). This has never caused me a problem with reticulation, a fine pattern of wrinkling in the emulsion caused by a sudden change in temperature from the tray temperature to the tap water washing temperature.

Processing Steps for Plates and Films

Processing StepProcessing Time (minutes)Agitation
1. Pyrochrome developer5Continuous
2. Stop bath 12Continuous
3. Wash in sink tray5Running tap water
4. Bleach 1, 3 see footnote 2Continuous
5. Wash in sink tray5Running tap water
6. Photoflo2None
7. Dry (room temperature)None

1 During development, the stop bath and bleach may leave an opaque, white residue on the plate. A thoroughly water soaked ordinary paper towel is used to gently wipe both sides of the plate while holding the plate under water in the washing tray with running tap water. Hold the plate firmly by its edges on one end of the width of the plate while you wipe one half of one side of the plate. Then turn the plate around and repeat the wiping on the other half of the same side of the plate. Then flip the plate over and repeat the whole wiping process again. Don't let the plate move against the bottom of the tray while wiping because this may scratch the emulsion. The emulsion is surprisingly resistant to scratches while wiping its surface.
2 The plate is left in the bleach until the emulsion (all dark areas) has cleared. You can go for a minute or so past this point, but don't leave the plate in the bleach to much past its clearing point.
3 When you're through using the bleach, you'll notice silt in the tray solution. This silt is silver that was removed from the emulsion as the plate cleared. Don't concern yourself with this. Just pour the bleach back into its bottle and then the next time you pour out the bleach into its tray, pour it in gently and the silt will remain at the bottom of the bottle. Even if some silt gets poured back into the tray, it won't affect anything.
All plates and films should be air dried whether they are transmission or reflection holograms. If you try to dry them faster, the emulsion will shrink and shift the color of the hologram. This is especially critical with reflection holograms. I air dry my plates by just leaning its top edge against a surface and placing a paper towel under its bottom edge. Film can be air dried by running a piece of string between two points and using a plastic clothes pin over the string and grasping one corner of the film.

Note: Agitation

There's a couple ways you can agitate the plate while it is in the developer, stop bath, and bleach. You can rock the tray gently left and right for 30 seconds, then tilt an adjacent side of the tray up and down for 30 seconds, and repeat this until the indicated processing time is up. The other way is to grab the plate with your thumb and middle finger on opposite sides of the plate and move the plate back and forth in the solution. The agitation should not be very vigorous. Rocking the tray left and right or using your fingers back and forth should take about 3-4 seconds for a cycle. A cycle being one left and right rocking or one back and forth with grabbing the plate. If you're using film and you want to use your fingers, grab the film by a corner and move it back and forth for one cycle.


Revised 5/2/2017