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Graphene to power higher resolution, energy-efficient electronic displays

According to the researchers, the new technology held its own during side-by-side comparisons with traditional electronic displays.

By
Brooks Hays
Scientists showcased their graphene-powered reflective display earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress. Photo by Graphene Flagship
Scientists showcased their graphene-powered reflective display earlier this year at the Mobile World Congress. Photo by Graphene Flagship

Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Scientists in the Netherlands have found a way to incorporate graphene into electronic displays, yielding high resolutions and faster frame rates, while consuming less energy.

Better displays are needed for the next generation of electronics, like virtual reality systems. The best electronic displays in use today, like those found on smartphones, require significant amounts of energy from batteries.

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Reflective displays, like those found on e-book readers, use small amounts of energy, but don't feature the speed or resolution to support standard technologies like OLED or LCD.

With graphene, however, scientists were able to create a reflective display capable of higher resolutions and faster frame rates.

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Graphene is made up of a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb-like structure. It is strong, flexible, lightweight, nearly transparent and a superb conductor of heat and electricity. The carbon sheet is ideal for use in the construction of micro-electromechanical systems, or MEMs.

Once graphene is incorporated into a MEM, membranes in the display can be manipulated using electrical and optical inputs.

"Graphene is a versatile material with excellent mechanical, optical and electrical properties, and the combination of all of them enables the GIMOD technology," lead researcher Samer Houri, nanoscientist at Delft University of Technology, said in a news release.

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In the GIMOD display, pixels are composed of electrically controlled membranes, which reflect incoming white light. The graphene membranes flicker at speeds imperceptible to the human eyes.

According to the researchers, the new technology held its own during side-by-side comparisons with traditional electronic displays.

"We showcased GIMOD prototypes of 2500 pixels per inch in the Mobile World Congress, and many players from the display industry reacted quite enthusiastically," said Cartamil-Bueno, creator of the graphene display. "While participating in several business contests in Germany, I have been preparing the team and securing capital. In few weeks, we will launch the startup to commercialize GIMOD components, aiming to tackle the VR market because that is where GIMOD outperforms every other technology."

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Researchers described the development of their GIMOD display in a new paper published Friday in the journal Nature Communications.

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