Hans Bjelkhagen

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Dr Hans I. Bjelkhagen, professor of Interferential Imaging Sciences, with North East Institute for Higher Education, Wrexham, at the Centre for Modern Optics located in OpTIC Technium in North Wales, UK. He received his PhD degree in 1978 from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. There he developed methods for recording interferometric holograms and performed holographic nondestructive testing for the Swedish car and airplane industry, e.g., VOLVO and SAAB. In addition to industrial applications of holography, Dr Bjelkhagen specialised in medical and dental holographic recordings. Dr Bjelkhagen has developed a holographic recording system for dental casts. The equipment: HOLODENT SYSTEM was produced and marketed by Dentatus International AB in Sweden. He has also invented and patented a special method to detect caries lesions (tooth decay) at an early stage based on laser fluorescence. Currently, a quantitative clinical system based on that patent is being developed and marketed by INSPEKTOR Research Systems bv in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

In 1983, he joined CERN in Geneva, Switzerland, where he was involved in development of bubble chamber holography. A year later he participated in an international team working on neutrino physics experiments recording holograms in the 15-foot bubble chamber at Fermilab in Batavia, IL, USA. Between 1985-1991 he was at Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, working on medical endoscopic applications of holography. He developed methods of recording in-vivo holograms at the tip of a special fibre-optic endoscope.

Dr Bjelkhagen has been involved in the development of a large autostereoscopic computer display system when working for American Propylaea Corporation and Intrepid World Communications in Michigan. The project was carried out between Propylaea and US Army Tank Command, Warren, MI, through a CRDA (A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement). The work resulted in a prototype based on a 30" by 50" projection HOE and an array of single-lens video projectors and run by Silicon Graphics ONYX computers.

During the last ten years, Dr Bjelkhagen has been most recognized for his work in colour holography, holographic recording materials and Lippmann photography. Dr Bjelkhagen has been able to demonstrate that high-quality full-colour holograms recorded in "white" laser light (combined RGB light from three laser wavelengths) could be stored in a single-layer ultra-high-resolution silver halide emulsion. In December 1997 Dr Bjelkhagen was invited by Professor Nicholas Phillips to join him at the newly established Centre for Modern Optics at De Montfort University, Leicester, in England. There he continued his research on 3D imaging, colour holography, colour HOEs, holographic recording materials, and Lippmann photography. Currently, a new optical variable device (OVD) based on the one-hundred-year-old Lippmann photographic colour recording technique is being developed. The application is in the field of optical document security. Individually recorded OVDs, similar to reflection holograms, can be applied to documents, such as, passports, ID-cards, driver’s licenses, etc. At the Centre for Modern Optics he has been involved in projects supported by companies, such as, SAMSUNG and SHARP.

In addition to his scientific 3D coherent imaging Dr Bjelkhagen is a well-known holographer who has recorded many holograms for 3D display purposes. From his early years in holography he has been involved in large-format, high-quality display holography both pulsed and cw laser holography. He has recorded many unique art objects, such as, e.g., the Swedish Coronation Crown of Erik XIV (from 1561) in 1974 and the Chinese Flying Horse from Kansu (from 100 A.D.) at an exhibition in Stockholm in 1976. Dr Bjelkhagen has been working with several famous artists, for example, Carl Fredrik Reuterswärd, creating holograms exhibited in many art museums and art galleries around the world. Dr Bjelkhagen has specialized in pulsed display holograms, in particular, holographic portraits. He has recorded holograms of many people the most famous one being President Ronald Reagan, a portrait recorded May 24, 1991. This is the first and, so far, the only holographic portrait recorded of an American president. One copy of the holographic portrait is in The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

When Dr Bjelkhagen was working in the USA in the 80s and 90s, he started two holographic companies together with two of his colleagues in Chicago. One company was HOLICON Corporation, a company specialised in large-format pulsed holography and portraiture. Among the interesting projects can be mentioned a promotional project for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company: "The Gallery of the Pathogenesis of Atherosclerosis" using hologram of microscopes through which arteries could be studied. After the campaign was over, the holograms were donated by Bristol-Myers Squibb to museums in the USA, for example, the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, where the holograms are still on display. HOLICON was also financially responsible and provided equipment for recording the 1991 holographic portrait of President Ronald Reagan which took place at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara in California.

The other company, Holographic Industries Inc., operated several Lightwave Hologram Galleries, marketing holograms and other holography-related products and located in US cities such as, e.g., Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco.

Dr Bjelkhagen has published over 100 papers in refereed journals and conference proceedings and holds 9 international patents. However, his most important academic contribution is the Springer book on Silver-Halide Recording Materials for Holography and Their Processing. That book considered to be the standard textbook on the subject is now used in many of the universities teaching holography as well as in most worldwide companies producing display holograms.

Bjelkhagen is a member of the Optical Society of America (OSA) and a Topical Editor of the society's journal Applied Optics. He is a fellow the International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE) and the co-chairman of SPIE's Holography Technical Group. He is an Accredited Senior Imaging Scientist and Fellow of The Royal Photographic Society (RPS). Bjelkhagen received the RPS SAXBY AWARD in 2001 for his work in holography.

  • 2004 - present Professor, Interferential Imaging Sciences North East Institute of Higher Education, Wrexham, and Centre for Modern Optics at OpTIC Technium, St. Asaph, Wales
  • 2001 -2004 Professor, Interferential Imaging Sciences, De Montfort University, Leicester, England.
  • 1997 - 2001 Senior Research Fellow, Modern Optics De Montfort University, Leicester, England.
  • 1996 - 1997, Visiting Research Scientist, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois, USA.
  • 1994 - 1995, Vice President - Research & Development, American Propylaea Corp., Birmingham, Michigan, USA.
  • 1992 - 1994, Visiting Professor, University of Münster, Germany.
  • 1985 – 1992, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, USA.
  • 1985, 1991, Associate Professor, Applied Photonics, Louis Pasteur (6 months each University, Strasbourg, France.
  • 1984 1985, Visiting Research Associate, Fermi National Accelerator Lab, Batavia, Illinois, USA.
  • 1983 1984, Visiting Research Associate, CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research), Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 1978 1983, Associate Research Professor, Production Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
  • 1969 1978, Research Assistant, Production Engineering, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

Swedish citizen, UK resident, US Green Card Holder, Date of Birth: March 9, 1945, Stockholm, Sweden.