Evangelism and Laser Communication Technologies

With lasers, holography and photonics, we examine the dissemination of the Gospel utilizing the science of light.

Evangelism and Laser Communication Technologies

* The photon is quickly replacing the electron in communications
* Holographic data storage can record vast amounts of information
* Stealth technology can bring the Holy Bible to unfriendly areas
* Holography is a Noble prize-winning field of physics

PUBLISHED: February 28, 2021 | UPDATED: February 28, 2021

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Evangelism and Laser Communication Technologies

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Evangelism and Laser Communication Technologies

The author, Frank DeFreitas, in his lab in 1983 and today
Me (Frank DeFreitas): upper left: visiting a school classroom with lasers and holograms, 1983; upper right: in my lab, setting up for recording a hologram, 1983; bottom: with a laser recording system today.

Someday, in the not-too-distant future, we will be communicating via laser technologies, and that will include evangelism.

Hello, my name is Frank DeFreitas, and I would like to welcome you to Wonders of the Bible.

The history of our Holy Bible can be traced back to earliest times. Beginning with verbal transmission of information, it continued with tablets; scrolls; manuscripts; the printing press; audio cylinders; radio; magnetic tape; television; records; optical compact discs; analog digital video discs; computers; smart phones; wireless technologies; and now, in the 21st century, emerging technologies that rely on the transmission and computation of light-based circuits, and holographic data storage.

I thought I would begin this presentation by splitting it up into two parts: part one will contain information about the project in simple, everyday language. It will not contain any technical information that might cause the listener fatigue in hearing about techniques and formulations.

Therefore, if your only interest is in hearing about what it is and what it does, you can choose to discontinue listening to the program after part one.

Part two will contain the technical information that has been eliminated from part one -- and, even with that, considering the nature of the topic, will most likely be in abbreviated form.

So if your interest lies in a more technical and scientific explanation, I will get to that right after the introduction of part one.

Let’s begin…

The author's laser candy box. The clear, see-through cover is actually encoded using invisible laser holographic information.
The author's photonics technology demonstration candy box. The clear, see-through cover is encoded using laser holographic information that is invisible to the human eye. This information can be either an image or scriptural text, and can be projected out into space using a simple laser pointer.

Many years ago, I wasn’t aware that the Christian Holy Bible was illegal in parts of today’s world. As to how many parts of the world there are, I guess there are several answers to that depending on what organization is providing the information. Regardless, even if only ONE area, that is one area too many.

I found myself fascinated when reading of the brave men and women who risk their lives to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people who live in this areas. I would read about how they would smuggle Bibles that were stuffed into the rubber tires of Jeeps, or placed in large sacks of flour, and so on.

I had my own laser studio and lab since 1983. I worked with, and taught about, the Nobel prize-winning field of holography. I saw applications of the technology that I thought might be transferred to somewhat of a stealth method for transmitting and receiving information. So I set out to produce a few sample pieces showing how the technology might work.

The purpose of my project was to allow the Christian Holy Bible to reach populations in areas of the world where ownership of a Bible is restricted, or illegal.

It relies on what could be best described as laser-based stealth technology. The word stealth, in a broad sense, can be defined as something designed in accordance with technology that makes detection difficult.

The actual technology in this case is termed holographic data storage.

I have been demonstrating this by using a little box of candy. This box has a clear top that shows the fanciful-colored candy pieces that are inside. No one would ever know anything about it other than it is a tiny box of candy. There is absolutely no indication of the laser and optical-based photonic science that it contains.

One can take off the lid, and help themselves to a piece of the candy inside. Then, as anyone would, they put the lid back on the box.

The author is showing the lid of the box containing the photopolymer film.
The author is showing the lid of the box containing the photopolymer film (green arrow). Any point on the film surface is capable of reconstructing an image in its entirety. The white spot is from the camera flash -- otherwise the film is clear.

However, with this particular box, the clear window in the lid contains an image that, for all practical purposes, is invisible: an image of Jesus Christ. I use this image of Jesus since it is one of the most recognized depictions of Jesus in the world. It is known as Head of Christ by artist Warner Salman. I happen to own a 35-mm museum slide of this art work, so it was handy to place into the holography system set-up.

In everyday circumstances of use, you cannot see the picture, nor is there any indication that it even contains a picture. At any viewpoint, or at any angle.

In fact, it doesn’t contain a picture at all. What is contains is known as an interference pattern caused by the laser light used to record it. I’ll address these aspects in a few minutes.

It is only when the lid of the box is held at a specific orientation, and a beam of laser light is passed through the film, that the image of Christ is projected out onto a wall, ceiling, or other surface.

Any simple, inexpensive laser pointer will work.

Now, keep in mind that this encoded film can also contain text. Therefore, scripture can, and has been, used as well. Another piece that I did was the Lord’s Prayer.

No one would ever know that this was anything more than a little box of candy pieces. And, unless you know the specific way that the film is to be held, no one will ever see the images or text -- even if they used a laser pointer.

Keep in mind that a candy box is just one example of how this can be used. There are many, many additional applications.

If you find this interesting, and would like to see photos of the candy box, and the resulting projected image, just go to wondersofthebible.org and click on the podcast link. You’ll see a podcast named “evangelism and laser communication technologies”. Click on that podcast and it will take you to the page with the photos.

Let’s move on to part two:

An illustration showing the steps need to make a laser transmission hologram.
Here is an illustration taken from a newspaper article on my work in holography. It shows the optical set-up needed for making a simple, split-beam laser transmission hologram.

Now for the technical information. As mentioned earlier, this technology is actually termed: holographic data storage. In this particular instance, I am utilizing analog imaging, rather than storing and retrieving digital information. The film is referred to as a holographic optical element, and this technology is used in many modern industrial applications today, such as heads up displays for automobiles and aircraft.

The film that allows people to look through the top of the candy box and see the candy inside is a piece of light sensitive photopolymer film. The resolution is quite high: in some cases with a resolving power of 10,000 lines per mm. Let me repeat that: 10,000 lines PER MILLIMETER.

With resolution that high, of course, vibrational tolerances are rather tight. If any piece of equipment moves a fraction of a wavelength of light during the exposure, the recording is ruined. Therefore, work must be done on vibration isolation systems, in a controlled environment.

During the exposure to light, a cross-linking of the photopolymer molecules takes place. This sets up what is known as an interference pattern, due to the coherent properties of laser light: when two separate waves meet at the emulsion during the crest of the waves, you have an increase in the amplitude of the wave, and that is recorded as such at that spot. When two separate waves meet at the emulsion during the crest of one wave, and the trough of another, you have a cancellation. And so on and so forth for all wave amplitudes being recorded throughout the volume of the recording media.

Unlike a silver-halide emulsion, photopolymer does not have to be fixed, or reversal bleached. Once it is exposed, the interference pattern is locked in place.

One of the more interesting aspects of this method is the ability to include storage of the magnification optics. Since a hologram is capable of storing 3-dimensional information, this piece of exposed photopolymer also contains the optical path used to make it. Since the optics themselves within that path are recorded, they function exactly as they would as if they were physically there again.

I recently had a chance to demonstrate this a few years ago at a meeting of the New York Microscopical Society: showing how the optics of a microscope can be recorded within a holographic image, and then reconstructed -- in light -- to function as if the optics were there in front of you again.

photograph of laser hologram projection of face of Christ.
Here is a photograph showing a laser pointer projecting the famous "Face of Christ" image onto the wall (with sepia inset for detail). Any spot on the film will project the image. As noted and explained in the podcast, the magnification optics are recorded within the hologram. The same can be done with Biblical scripture (words) as with pictures. You may click or tap on this image to enlarge for detail.

A second interesting aspect is that the image is not localized anywhere on the film surface. This means that any “spot” that the point of laser light passes through, is capable of reconstructing the entire, complete image. This includes the ability to cut any size piece of film away from the main piece, and it will still reconstruct an entire image. Cut a second piece of film away, and it will reconstruct a second, entire image. A third piece, a third entire image. And so on and so forth.

Yet … if you put all of the pieces of film back together again, and they all come together to form a single, entire image once again.

If you have followed all of that, please believe me that this bizarre aspect of analog holographic data storage is true. However, it's really only bizarre to those outside of the fields of lasers and holography. To those who work, or at one time worked, within the fields, it's just another day.

Another interesting application is with greenhouses. Holographic optical elements can be placed on a greenhouse roof, and make the sun appear overhead at all times throughout the day, as it makes it's movement across the sky. This assists greenhouse vegetation in its upright growth, since it does not have to expend any energy following the sun across the sky.

As for reconstruction of Biblical scripture or imagery, a geometrical determination must be made initially during the set-up of the optical system. This geometry must be used in order to reconstruct the resulting image. Even *I* have a hard time remembering the exact orientation of the box lid. So I have resorted to have to put a little mark to remind myself how to hold it.

Even then, the image will not reconstruct unless the angle of the incoming laser pointer beam is correct.

It works beautifully providing someone has a laser pointer, and knows the geometric combination.

It would be able to take Bible verses into areas of the world where it is very dangerous to have the Bible. And, believe me, once you see how stealth this technology is, no one will ever be the wiser.

So, in closing, where does this go from here?

Now, I’m not saying that -- in the future -- people will be walking around with hologram covered candy boxes and laser pointers. Not at all. I’m simply saying -- and using the all-to-familiar little box of candy to demonstrate -- that we will most certainly move on from our current levels of technology, and take on new and exciting technologies to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, that many of these new technologies will have the ability to take the Gospel into areas of the world where it has not been so easy to do, in the past or in the present.

At the very least it can serve as an encouragement for others to pick up the baton and continue to research and develop new technological ways to spread the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Frank DeFreitas with students in his laser and holography workshop program.
The author has been working with, and teaching about lasers and holography for nearly 40 years. He is an elected member of Sigma-Pi-Sigma, the National Physics Honor Society, for his educational programs in lasers, optics, photonics and holography.

Many times a technology, once realized, looks nothing at all like it did during its R&D phase. And so it will be for the photonic evangelistic technologies of the future. You see, technology has always been used for spreading the Gospel. All of the methods that I have mentioned at the beginning of this broadcast are technologies of their day.

It is very exciting to be able to work on the Christian evangelistic technologies of tomorrow.

I hope you enjoyed this brief online presentation. If your group or school would like a presentation, I have a small demonstration that I can bring. I have been providing presentations for almost 40 years.

I’m living in a senior community at the New Jersey shore now. I can travel to the Philly or New York areas, as I’m close to both the Atlantic City Expressway, and also the Garden State Parkway, with easy access to east/west and north/sound travel.

Also, before I close, please keep in mind that this is just ONE of MANY applications of laser and photonic communication technologies that will one day help spread the Good News of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

You’ll find many more applications by visiting wondersofthebible.org, and clicking on the link for holography.

Once again, my name is Frank DeFreitas, and may God Bless you Today and Every Day … AND … REMEMBER … to always love others, just as Jesus Christ loves you.



Computer chips that run on light (Stanford)

Basic principles of holography (Britannica)

Optics for Kids (Optical Society of America)

What are LASERs used for?


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Lasers, Holography and Photonics Primer: Compiled by Frank DeFreitas, here is a great PDF student study guide that you can read and / or download to help with your understanding of lasers, optics, and holography. It also contains history and bios of some of the early researchers in the field. You may use it for homework assignments. Please give credit to wondersofthebible.org

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Lasers and their Applications: Lasers are all around us ... although they work primarily in the background. This document explains the many different applications of lasers in today's modern 21st century. Is there a laser in YOUR future? Educational document produced by Melles Griot. Download file size: 131k.

"Science is the study of the physical manifestations of God in action."
-- Frank DeFreitas (Click Here for BIO)
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Our prayer: "Thank you Lord Jesus for blessing and guiding our work. May it bring honor to Your name. May it inspire other Christians in their walk. May it reach and convict the perishing of this world, and help lead them to salvation. Amen."

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