Volume holography brings attractive and unique technological applications related to its capability to store a number of holograms in the same volume of a light-sensitive material (multiplexing). Multifunction optical devices or holographic data storage me dia faster and bigger than conventional ones, are only two examples, among a variety of others, some of them unthought yet. Proposed research will cover the physical basis of the volume holographic recording and multiplexing, as well as physiochemical mech anisms occurring in new potentially suitable materials to be used in volume holographic technologies. To reach the outcome of the project, it is proposed to build a unique apparatus capable of concurrently recording and evaluating multiplexed holograms by different multiplexing methods. Chalcogenide glasses (e.g. compounds of S and/or Se with As and/or P) will be the first family of photosensitive materials to be studied. Even though the capability of these materials to store high-resolution light patterns, via the variety of photoinduced effects they exhibit, is well-known, the proposed specific research on volume holography still has not been carried out, and it is expected, therefore, to get high-impact results quite early. Thick chalcogenide films will b e deposited onto suitable substrates both by thermal evaporation and by spin coating of a solution of the bulk starting material in an organic solvent. The optimisation of these deposition techniques, in order to reach the standards required for volume hol ographic recording media, will be carried out.
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