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Avalon Holographics, headquartered in St. John’s, collaborates with nanofabrication facilities at both the University of Waterloo and the University of Alberta to create and test nano-sized devices for holographic display technologies. The devices will ultimately produce a life-like display that is “nearly indecipherable from the real thing,” says the company’s president, Wally Haas.

In the past, holograms have relied on a system of mirrors to manipulate light and create a 3D effect, explains Greg Holloway, a researcher at Waterloo’s Quantum NanoFab facility. But a much higher fidelity 3D projection can be created using nano-sized structures on the scale of the wavelength of light. The structures cause the light to bend, yielding a 3D projection.

They are essentially tiny pillars mounted on glass that Dr. Holloway sculpts into the desired shape using electron-beam lithography, which uses a high-energy beam of electrons to burn away material. The resulting device is 100 microns in size, barely visible.

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Nine of the company’s 40 employees also work on developing holographic devices at the nanoFAB Fabrication & Characterization Centre at U of A, which is the country’s largest clean room open to industry use.

Mr. Haas says these research facilities are indispensable to his company’s success – the precision of the electron-beam lithography equipment at Waterloo, for example, allows Avalon to advance its technologies further than they otherwise could. And about the U of A facility, he says, “Without it, we’d shut down. We are lucky to have access to its size and capability.”

Innovation.ca/stories


Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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