Holograms are a novel way to optically manipulate light. In the early 70’s, Richard Rallison developed a process for making holograms using Dichromated gelatin (DCG). From this, he formed a company to produce various holographic images on 2″ glass disks. He was successful at this and became well known as a holography innovator.
Years later, Richard was approached by Lee Dickson, an engineer from IBM, with the concept of developing a holographic bar code scanner. Lee’s idea was to make a multi-faceted holographic scanning disk. Each facet would have a different and unique holographic optical element that could image the barcode at different distances from the scan head. The holographic disk would be flat so it could be rotated at high speeds. This would ensure faster checkout since it would allow the barcode to be scanned easily on curved and flexible surfaces at a wider range of locations.
The project was successful. Barcode scanning was greatly improved, the IBM barcode scanner became the standard and a new branch of holography emerged.
In 2002, Wasatch Photonics was incorporated with the “mission” of producing high dispersion, high-efficiency volume phase gratings with low polarization dependent loss based on the work done by Lee and Richard.
Gerald Heidt, being a founder and CEO, set up the facility to manufacture volume phase gratings, perfect the process and develop new grating concepts. Out of this endeavor came the “Dickson” grating and our patented HD grating. These gratings have the highest dispersion, highest efficiency and lowest PDL on the market. They truly are “Ultimate Diffraction Gratings”.