Holographic Storm

The Holographic Storm is a demonstration of how light can be shaped using nanostructured plexiglass plates.

It looks as though there are flashes of lightning behind the plates. But are they real or is it just an illusion?​

In fact, it is an illusion, similar to that of a magnifying glass. What happens if you look, for example, at a beetle through a magnifying glass? The magnifying glass changes the light that passes through it in such a way that it seems we are looking at a much bigger beetle.

Indeed, the big beetle is just an illusion. Our eyes do not care if there is any beetle at all – the only thing that matters is the light entering our eyes. Without any light, we would not see any beetle. If the light is the same as light reflected off a big beetle, then we see a big beetle.

Light can be changed in many different ways. For example, a piece of frosted glass muddles light so much that we cannot recognize what is behind.

Similarly, the Holographic Storm muddles light in a specific way. The accurately manufactured plexiglass plates turn the small spots of light produced by LEDs into illusions of lightning.

The scientific discipline

The scientific discipline that allows us to make such plates is called holography.
The plates “muddling the light” are then called holograms. Many people think that a hologram is an illusion of something, but this is a common misconception. A hologram is a piece of material that alters light in a specific way. At least, this is the original meaning of the word “hologram” coined by the inventor of holography, Dr. Dennis Gabor, in 1948. Holography is used in a broad range of applications, such as:
Detecting small amounts of chemicals such as poisons
Testing manufacturing tolerances of demanding parts
Making components for computer networks
And many others