UK researchers have taken a step forward in making flexible displays, debuting a warping screen that uses graphene as its electronic material.
Like many of the screens that we view today, the new Cambridge invention uses an electrophoretic display that rearranges particles suspended in a solution by means of an electric field. However, in contrast to most displays the screen is made of flexible plastic and its pixel electronics, also known as backplane, replace the traditional metal electrode with one built from graphene.
According to Cambridge researchers, “Graphene is more flexible than conventional ceramic alternatives like indium-tin oxide (ITO) and more transparent than metal films.” What’s more the 2-dimensional carbon material is also processed and printed very easily making the display simple to produce.
Currently, the Cambridge consortium’s display is only capable of a 150 pixel per inch resolution, however, that may change in short order. Researchers believe they can build a flexible OLED or LCD screen that can project a full color HD image. Looking further into the future the UK team also believes that using graphene-based backplanes might allow them to embed sensors in the displays, making them more capable of interacting with their viewers.
“We are happy to see our collaboration with Plastic Logic resulting in the first graphene-based electrophoretic display exploiting graphene in its pixels’ electronics,” said Professor Andrea Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre. “This is a significant step forward to enable fully wearable and flexible devices.”
While graphene’s potential has been known since it was first discovered, industries have been slow to leverage its unique abilities. This Cambridge display should do wonders for the development of process engineering for graphene and in the end it might just dazzle us with beautiful, flexible moving images.