The image changes as the position and orientation of the viewing system changes in exactly the same way as if the object were still present, thus making the recorded image (hologram) appear three dimensional.
Several types of holograms can be made. Transmission holograms, such as those produced by Leith and Upatnieks, are viewed by shining laser light through them and looking at the reconstructed image from the side of the hologram opposite the source. A later refinement,
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Another kind of common hologram
the reflection or Denisyuk hologram, is capable of multi-colour image reproduction using a white lightillumination source on the same side of the
hologram as the viewer.
One of the most promising recent advances in the short history of holography has been the mass production of low-cost solid-state lasers, such as those found in millions of DVD recorders and used in other common applications, which are sometimes also useful for holography. These cheap, compact, solid-state lasers can, under some circumstances, compete well with the large, expensive gas lasers previously required to make holograms, and are already helping to make holography much more accessible to low-budget researchers, artists and dedicated hobbyists.
A slightly more complicated hologram can be made using a point source of light as object beam and a plane wave as reference beam to illuminate the photographic plate. An interference pattern is formed which in this case is in the form of curves of decreasing separation with increasing distance from the center.
The photographic plate is developed giving a complicated pattern which can be considered to be made up of a diffraction pattern of varying spacing. When the plate is illuminated by the reference beam alone, it is diffracted by the grating into different angles which depend on the local spacing of the pattern on the plate. It can be shown that the net effect of this is to reconstruct the object beam, so that it appears that light is coming from a point source behind the plate, even when the source has been removed. The light emerging from the photographic plate is identical to the light that emerged from the point source that used to be there. An observer looking into the plate from the other side will "see" a point source of light whether the original source of light is there or not.
This sort of hologram is effectively a concave lens, since it "converts" a plane wavefront into a divergent wavefront. It will also increase the divergence of any wave which is incident on it in exactly the same way as a normal lens does. Its focal length is the distance between the point source and the plate.