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Peter Christopher

University of Cambridge

Moving beyond the point source: Introducing Holographic Additive Manufacture

This presentation will give an overview of recent research into areal or holographic additive manufacture (HAM).

Many low power AM techniques such as the stereolithography processes found in commercial resin printers are capable of printing across a large area concurrently, typically using a LCD screen or DMD projector. These areal techniques don’t scale to higher power requirements such as laser powder bed fusion of metals where moving point source techniques are used.

With the use of phase-controlled computer-generated holography (CGH) we introduce a new illumination technique that is capable of scaling to the kilowatt powers required for melting whole regions simultaneously in metallic AM.

We start by introducing the topic of two-dimensional holography with a focus on its advantages and limitations and with a focus on improved efficiency and power handling. We then introduce a custom resin printer that has been used to develop the necessary algorithms and modelling required for working with metallic AM. Finally, ongoing work into a full-scale metallic AM demonstrator is presented along with a discussion of challenges and applications.

Background: Research into holographic additive manufacture has been ongoing at the University of Cambridge since 2017 with a collaboration between the Centre of Molecular Materials and Photonic Engineering (CMMPE) and Centre for Industrial Photonics (CIP) seeking to pioneer the next generation of light sources for additive manufacture.


Peter originally trained as a Civil Engineer at Bristol University before spending two years working as a Software/R&D engineer for Autodesk focussing on additive manufacturing and 3D printing. While there he fell in love with additive manufacture but grew frustrated with the limitations in metallic work caused by point heat sources.

In parallel to this he developed a software consultancy business and in mid-2016 was fortunate enough to sell a distributed security product he had developed. Looking for a new challenge, he joined the Centre for Doctoral Training in Ultra Precision (CDT-UP) at the University of Cambridge 2016, and is currently working with the Centre for Molecular Materials, Photonics and Electronics (CMMPE) at the University of Cambridge on high-power areal projections systems for additive manufacturing.

While at Cambridge, Peter has worked on developing novel light sources for additive manufacture using holographic techniques and hopes one day to make the galvoscanner obsolete.

Outside of industry/academia Peter enjoys studying ancient languages, programming, reading and coaching an amateur Overwatch team. He is also an active member of the Maker community, recent projects having revolved around amateur blacksmithing and forging.


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