Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

LCD paint licked

02.05.2002


Walls and curtains could sport liquid-crystal digital displays.


One layer LCDs could lead to smaller, cheaper, lighter gadgets.
© R. Penterman et al.



Homes of the future could change their wallpaper from cream to cornflower blue at the touch of a button, says Dirk Broer. His team has developed paint-on liquid crystal displays (LCDs) that offer the technology.

Liquid crystals are peculiar liquids: their molecules spontaneously line up, rather than being randomly orientated as in a normal liquid. Passing a voltage across the molecules switches their alignment, blocking the transmission of light so a display changes from light to dark.


Current LCDs on digital watches, mobile phones and laptops sandwich the crystal between heavy glass plates. The complicated production process is time-consuming, expensive and restricts the size of screens to just 1 metre square.

Broer and his colleagues have devised a new open-sandwich technique that instead deposits a layer of liquid crystal onto a single underlying sheet. Working at Eindhoven University of Technology and Philips Research Laboratories in the Netherlands, Broer’s team has already produced prototypes on glass and plastic; fabric could be next.

The technique could create giant TV screens, digital billboards and walls that change colour. Slim, plastic LCDs sewn into fabric could display e-mail or text messages on your sleeve. "It depends what future societies want," says Broer.

The technique should feed people’s thirst for smaller, cheaper gadgets. Conventional glass LCDs now make up an increasing part of a laptop’s weight - plastic versions could change that, says Peter Raynes, who studies LCD technology at the University of Oxford, UK.

Crystal glazing

Broer’s team made the LCD paint by mixing liquid crystal with molecules that link together into a rigid polymer when exposed to ultraviolet. In a two-stage process they effectively build tiny boxes holding the liquid1.

They coat a glass or plastic base with a thin layer of the LCD paint and mask out squares so that a blast of ultraviolet forms a grid of walls. When they remove the mask, a second exposure - at a wavelength that does not penetrate the whole liquid layer - seals over the boxes with a lid.

Standard LCDs, which are divided up into pixels, turn dark when a voltage crosses between electrodes on the two glass plates. The new displays instead pass voltage between two points on the same plate. Colour LCDs fit each pixel with red, green and blue colour filters.

"Don’t expect to buy a watch featuring one of the new displays in the next six months," warns Raynes, however. He cautions that the technique needs work: compared with glass, the thin outer layer may be more easily penetrated by oxygen or water that degrade the crystal.

References

  1. Penterman, R. et al. Single-substrate liquid-crystal displays by photo-enforced stratification. Nature, 417, 55 - 58, (2002).


HELEN PEARSON | © Nature News Service

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht A new tool for discovering nanoporous materials
23.05.2017 | Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

nachricht Did you know that packaging is becoming intelligent through flash systems?
23.05.2017 | Heraeus Noblelight GmbH

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>