A technique for making three-dimensional images by recording → interference patterns from a split → laser beam on a medium such as photographic film. One of the → coherent beams irradiates the object, the second beam illuminates a recording medium. The two beams produce an interference pattern, called → hologram, on the film. The hologram contains information on both → phase and → amplitude of the object. However, this information is in a coded form, and the image must be reconstructed. When the object is removed and the hologram is illuminated by the laser from the original direction, a 3-dimensional image of the object appears where the object was originally, as if it were not removed. The visible object seems so real that the observer can detect → parallax by changing the position of one's head.
From → holo- "whole" + → -graphy. By using the term holography, Dennis Gabor (1900-1979), the Hungarian-British electrical engineer and inventor, wanted to stress that the technique records complete information about a wave, both about its amplitude and its phase, in contrast to the usual photography in which only the distribution of the amplitude is recorded.