diffractive optical elements, diffractive optics, electronic holography, liquid crystal displays, three-dimensional displays


We describe the design, construction, and performance of the first real-time autostereoscopic three-dimensional (3-D) display based on the partial pixel 3-D display architecture. The primary optical components of the 3-D display are an active-matrix liquid crystal display and a diffractive optical element (DOE). The display operates at video frame rates and is driven with a conventional VGA signal. Three-dimensional animations with horizontal motion parallax are readily viewable as sets of stereo images. Formation of the virtual viewing slits by diffraction from the partial pixel apertures is experimentally verified. The measured contrast and perceived brightness of the display are excellent, but there are minor flaws in image quality due to secondary images. The source of these images and how they may be eliminated is discussed. The effects of manufacturing-related systematic errors in the DOE are also analyzed.

Original Publication Citation

G. P. Nordin, M. W. Jones, J. H. Kulick, R. G. Lindquist, and S. T. Kowel, "A 3-D Display Utilizing a Diffractive Optical Element and an Active Matrix Liquid Crystal Display," Opt. Eng. 35(12), pp. 344-3412 (1996)

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


SPIE -- Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers




Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Electrical and Computer Engineering