A review of the development of the non-local model of diffractive grating formation in photopolymer based holographic recording materials is presented. The roots of our model, which lie in the earlier work of several authors on polymerisation driven diffusion based models, are discussed. The limitations of these models are described, and in this way the motivation for the development of our extended non-local model is described. Then the physical basis and assumptions involved in the derivation of the non-local model are presented. A discussion illustrating some of the drawbacks and limitations of this model and reviewing work to date are presented. We conclude by describing what we believe are the major implications of our work in relation to data storage and the improvement of photopolymer holographic recording materials.

© 2003 Optical Society of America

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