Holograms made of diffusely reflecting or diffusely illuminated objects can be scratched, spotted with dirt, and even broken into pieces without serious loss of information. This remarkable property is due to the redundancy introduced by diffuse illumination which, in effect, spreads information all over the hologram. Unfortunately, an unwanted by-product of diffuse illumination is speckle noise. This noise becomes more severe as hologram size is reduced. We show that, in order to obtain an acceptably high signal-to-noise ratio, the area of this type hologram must be more than 100 times the area needed to achieve a desired image resolution, making it prohibitively large for most data storage applications. In this paper we described a multibeam recording technique that produces redundant holograms that yield speckle free images of transparencies. We show that (1) achievable redundancy is equal to the ratio of actual hologram area to that area which just satisfies resolution requirements, (2) a two-dimensional phase grating provides a simple, efficient means for generating multiple beams, an optimized grating producing nine equally intense beams with 81% efficiency, (3) an optimized phase grating having a spatial period just equal to desired image resolution yields fourfold redundancy in holograms that are just large enough to encompass both side bands of the central (or zero order) beam, and (4) holograms having fourfold redundancy give reasonably good immunity to dust and scratches.
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