September 07, 2006

From Viktoras Didziulis:

Re: “Artificial muscles” to liven TV color (Aug. 17): Using diffraction or interference is likely the best approach to record or generate true colors. Though I just wanted to remind some history. Similar approach has been used in method known as Lippmann process developed around 100 years ago. It might be an interesting topic for one of “World-science” issues. The difference is that it relies not on diffraction gratings on a plane, but on Bragg reflection planes in emulsion to make the colors.

The Lippmann process utilized the natural colors of light wavelengths instead of using dyes and pigments. He placed a reflecting coat of mercury ehind the emulsion of a panchromatic plate. The mercury reflected light rays back through the emulsion to interfere with the incident rays, forming a latent image that varied in depth according to each ray’s colour. The development process then reproduced this image, and the result, when viewed, was brilliantly accurate. However direct method of colour photography was slow and tedious because of necessarily long exposure times, and no copies of the original could be made.

Gabriel Jonas Lippmann won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1908 for the creation of the first color photographic process. Today only a few know what was that method. Someone could start adopting the technology for manufacturing “real color displays” or new kind of digital cameras. . .Colors are still preserved in his early photos. . .

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