Scientists at the Cavendish Laboratory of the Cambridge University for the first time developed a graphene based flexible screen. The development will pave the way for next generation of high-tech wearable and foldable electronic devices.
A flexible display incorporating graphene in its pixels' electronics was successfully demonstrated by Professor Andrea Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre and Plastic Logic.
Graphene-based flexible screen
• The new prototype is an active matrix electrophoretic display, similar to the screens used in today's e-readers, except it is made of flexible plastic instead of glass.
• In contrast to conventional displays, the pixel electronics, or backplane of this display includes a solution-processed graphene electrode. It will replace the sputtered metal electrode layer within Plastic Logic's conventional devices which will bring product and process benefits.
• The new 150 pixel per inch backplane was made at low temperatures (less than 100 degrees Celsius) using Plastic Logic's Organic Thin Film Transistor (OTFT) technology.
• The graphene electrode was deposited from solution and subsequently patterned with micron-scale features to complete the backplane.
• For this prototype, the backplane was combined with an electrophoretic imaging film to create an ultra-low power and durable display.
• Future demonstrations may incorporate liquid crystal (LCD) and organic light emitting diodes (OLED) technology to achieve full colour and video functionality.
Importance of grapheme-based flexible screens
• The prototype will accelerate the commercial development of graphene. It is a first step towards the wider implementation of graphene and graphene-like materials into flexible electronics.
• The ultra-flexible graphene layer may enable a wide range of products, including foldable electronics.
• Lightweight flexible active-matrix backplanes may also be used for sensors, with novel digital medical imaging and gesture recognition applications already in development.
Graphene is a two-dimensional material made up of sheets of carbon atoms. It is among the strongest, most lightweight and flexible materials known, and has the potential to revolutionise industries from health-care to electronics.
It is more flexible than conventional ceramic alternatives like indium-tin oxide (ITO) and more transparent than metal films. It can also be processed from solution bringing inherent benefits of using more efficient printed and roll-to-roll manufacturing approaches.
In 2010, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of Russia won the Nobel Prize for research on graphene. Dr Novoselov is among the youngest winners of a prize that normally goes to scientists with decades of experience.
When: 15 September 2014