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Holographic interferometry has application in forensic science and could detect subtle changes in living tissues

02 July 2022

Nice Shot

Holograms capture ghosts of things in the spaces they leave behind – patterns of light they once reflected, recorded and illuminated from different angles. Comparing 'live' holograms produced by a changing object, like a vibrating plane’s wing or a speeding bullet, creates holographic interference – seen here as shock waves around a bullet in flight. These patterns reveal subtle changes, like how stress affects a surface. Holographic interferometry has a bright future in forensic science, architecture and engineering – perhaps spotting damaging vibrations in load-bearing beams. But it may also detect subtle changes in living tissues, comparing how they change from moment to moment, possibly revealing diagnostic patterns for circulatory disorders, or monitoring the stresses inside medical implants.

Written by John Ankers

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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