The process was developed at ITMO University in Saint Petersburg and relies upon a new colorless ink that can be loaded into a standard inkjet printer. The key component of the ink is a kind of nanocrystalline titania that gives the ink a high refractive index across the visible spectrum.
An image can be printed with the special refractive ink in a few minutes using standard printer protocols. After printing on a microembossed surface, it just needs to be covered with a clear polymer or varnish, and bam, you’ve got yourself a hologram.
It only takes a few minutes, which is a vast improvements over the current process, which involves multiple steps and has to be done over the course of several days. The printing process is comparatively simple. You can print holograms in any size and make changes at any point because you don’t need to go through the arduous process of creating a master hologram as you do with current techniques.
The team says this process will lower by several times the cost of making holograms. The size of printed holograms could be increased allow them to be much more detailed too. Of course, the cost of nanocrystalline ink will still be high compared to regular consumer printing. It’s not like standard ink is cheap, either.