Troubleshooting Your Holograms

By Alec Jeong
© 2004-2018 Integraf

When your hologram doesn't turn out the way you had expected, don't fret. It's usually easy to fix. Below are some common issues holographers experience when making a hologram, especially for the first time, along with some key questions and possible solutions that lead you to success.

"I don't' see any image at all."

Chances are very high that your system encountered vibration or movement.

  • Was there some air current blowing onto your holography system?
  • Was the object as your subject hard and bright?
  • Was the laser really placed stably?
  • Was the room generally still and quiet around the exposure time?
  • Did anyone touch the table during exposure?
  • Did anyone sneeze or talk aloud?
  • Remember that the longer you expose the holographic plate to the laser light, the higher risk you run of encountering vibrations (and thus getting no image at all).

Laser lost frequency stability

  • Make sure the laser warmed up for at least five minutes
  • Avoid air drafts
  • Avoid touching the laser during two minute prior to exposure

The hologram has not completely dried yet

  • Though it may look dry, the hologram may still be moist. Try waiting a little a few minutes longer or even an hour, depending on ambient conditions.

Hologram is not viewed correctly

  • View under appropriate lighting. Florescent and frosted light bulbs do not work.
  • View the hologram from the front side and same angle that the laser exposed it.

"I see an image but it’s dim"

  • The object may not be bright enough. Pick something white or bright metal.
  • The object may have moved slightly. Make sure the object is hard and does not deform.
  • Check to see if your laser is fully and directly illuminating your object and plate area.
  • Try increasing exposure time by a few seconds (not too much longer)
  • Try bringing the laser closer to the object, while still allowing full illumination.
  • Check that that you are using distilled water. (Tap water may contain impurities or minerals.)

"My holographic image is there but seems foggy or has streaks and spots"

  • Make sure your developing the hologram with sufficient time in each step.
  • Try rinsing longer (up to 3 minutes) between the developer and bleach steps.
  • See that the wetting solution is evenly applied when removing the hologram.
  • Watch out for drips and droplets when hanging drying the hologram.

"My hologram looked great two weeks ago, but now it’s kind of faded"

  • Try rinsing longer (up to 3 minutes) between the developer and bleach steps.
  • Avoid leaving the hologram under direct sun. Just like photos, holograms fade can fade.