A team of Australian and Chinese researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne has unveiled the world's thinnest hologram with the potential to change the way we look at technology -- quite literally.
The "nano-hologram" is set apart from other holograms because it can be seen without 3D goggles, and it measures just 25 nanometres, roughly 1,000 nanometres thinner than a human hair.
The researchers say the hologram is simple to manufacture and creates the potential for pop-up displays that render the confines of a traditional 2D screen "irrelevant."
"Conventional computer-generated holograms are too big for electronic devices but our ultrathin hologram overcomes those size barriers... a pop-up 3D hologram can display a wealth of data that doesn't neatly fit on a phone or watch," said RMIT University Distinguished Professor Min Gu.
"From medical diagnostics to education, data storage, defence and cyber security, 3D holography has the potential to transform a range of industries and this research brings that revolution one critical step closer."
The researchers say the next step is to develop a rigid thin film that can be laid on top of an LCD screen to create the 3D holographic display.
From there, the development of flexible or elastic films could open up the world of holograms to plenty of applications we're only now just dreaming of.