Google Research

Holographic pancake optics for thin and lightweight optical see-through augmented reality

Opt. Express, vol. 29 (2021), pp. 35206-35215


Holographic pancake optics have been designed and fabricated in eyewear display optics literature dating back to 1985, however, a see-through pancake optic solution has not been demonstrated to date. The key contribution here is the first full-color volume holographic pancake optic in an optical see-through configuration for applications in mobile augmented reality. Specifically, the full-color volume holographic pancake is combined with a flat lightguide in order to achieve the optical see-through property. The fabricated hardware optics has a measured field of view of 29 degrees (horizontal) by 12 degrees (vertical) and a measured large eyebox that allows a ±10 mm horizontal motion and ∼±3 mm vertical motion for a 4 mm diameter pupil. The measured modulation transfer function (average orientation) is 10% contrast at 10 lp/deg. Three holograms were characterized with respect to their diffraction efficiency, angular bandwidth, focal length, haze, and thickness parameters. The phase function in the reflection mode hologram implements a spherical mirror that has a relatively simple recording geometry.

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