Over 20 years ago, Dupont developed a clever polymer that could be used to create holograms. One promising application was a reflective backing for LCD displays.
While in theory any color could be created, green became the dominant color because the human eye is very sensitive to green, and because holograms are created by using high power lasers. Argon lasers were the predominant high power lasers back then, and they are very good at producing green light at 514nm. The hologram at right was made with a 514 argon laser.
The holographic reflector appears 6x brighter to the eye than does the traditional silver background. This is because the hologram directs most of the light towards the viewer rather than distributing it widely like the silver diffuser.
It is easy to add the holographic reflector to any LCD. This weather
radio came with the usual dull gray background. I disassembled the radio
and peeled the silver diffuser off the back of the LCD. Then I
attached the hologram to the LCD using a transparent adhesive film.
Here is a Fluke multimeter that I modified, next to an unmodified one. The contrast between the modified and original radios was even greater.
Unfortunately, the idea never caught on. Casio used it in
some digital watches like this one, but I know of few other commercial
Update: A reader has supplied the following additional information:
Found your post on the DuPont holographic films. Nice descriptions and details. I was quite involved in the project. A correction if I may, the brightness enhancement films did catch on in a big way! Almost all of the Timex watches for 3-4 years, almost all of the higher end Motorola cell phones for 3-4 years, and many other applications. What ended the growth was the introduction of full color LCD's.
The diagram at left illustrates how this works.
Unlike a normal mirror which reflects light away at the same angle it is received, holograms can be designed to reflect light at any angle. This property can be used to great advantage by reflecting ambient light at a different angle than the glare reflecting off the surface of the LCD display.
In the diagram, the glare from overhead light is reflected down, away from the viewer, while the green light from the hologram is directed towards the viewer. The result is the brilliant, high contrast display shown above.
I have a few square feet of the stuff, and convert most of my LCD displays.
At right is a sheet of copies. This picture was taken in a brightly lit room, but the holograms were so bright that the room appears dark. one neat attribute of holograms is that they are nearly transparent. Here is the exact same sheet when looking through it at the overhead lights that previously made it glow bright green.
We tried other colors with limited success. Here is a blue one. Not nearly as effective as the green. The bright objects in the background easily wash out the weaker blue.
By combining red, green and blue lasers, we made some white ones. However, even those did not perform as well as straight green, which can be seen shining through the white one.
Finally, here is a picture of some scraps. They only glow when viewed from the proper angle. The ones that appear dark are pointed the wrong way.
Years ago, someone had the idea of chopping these up and putting them into paint. A good idea, for unlike dyes, holograms never fade. Unfortunately I don't believe the inventor got very far with his idea.
Another, better idea was a transparent television set. When not used, it appeared to be a somewhat foggy, but generally clear, window. When turned on, the picture was quite good. One idea was to use it to display advertisements in store windows, then let people also see inside. Unfortunately I have seen little of that idea since then.