Printing Holograms on a Laser Printer

April 30, 2006 | General | By: Mark VandeWettering

Well, the other day I was scanning the logs of what people had accessed off my site, and found that someone had apparently found my website while looking Thad Walker’s paper Holography without Photography. Walker wrote on how you could write a simple C program (a dubious example was included in the paper) and use it to compute an image which you could then print on a laser printer, and then when you shine a laser through it (in a specific way involving a lens or two, but nothing too fancy), you can get the original image out.

Well, actually two copies of the image, one reversed from the other. And a bright red spot in the middle.

In the post above, I said I should do it sometime.

So I did.

And here it is. You might not be able to tell, but the icon I was trying for was a brain. It actually looks better in real life than it does here, but the resolution is limited to about 60×60 pixels, so I probably should have tried a simpler image. Still, I was kind of pleased with the result, as useless as it is.

When I get the system all worked out and understand the math more, I’ll post a more elaborate HOWTO. Till then, try absorbing Walker’s paper.

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Comment from kim
Time 6/19/2009 at 6:03 pm

Dear sir
I am interested in this topic.
may I ask how does you make this
program… solution… and so on.
Thank you

Comment from Laser Color Multifunction Printer
Time 9/18/2009 at 10:51 am

I can see the two brains that are paralell to each other. Nice work!! Is there going to be many more laser holograms in the future?

Comment from Chipwich
Time 9/13/2010 at 6:37 am

Nicely done and the reconstructions are clear! Take a look at for a program which works via the web to calculate CGHs. Instructions and a series of photographs of the computer generated holograms and their reconstructions is available at