First graphene-based flexible display produced

September 5, 2014
Active matrix electrophoretic display incorporating graphene. Credit: Plastic Logic

(Phys.org) —A flexible display incorporating graphene in its pixels' electronics has been successfully demonstrated by the Cambridge Graphene Centre and Plastic Logic, the first time graphene has been used in a transistor-based flexible device.

The partnership between the two organisations combines the graphene expertise of the Cambridge Graphene Centre (CGC), with the transistor and processing steps that Plastic Logic has already developed for . This prototype is a first example of how the partnership will accelerate the commercial development of graphene, and is a first step towards the wider implementation of graphene and graphene-like materials into flexible electronics.

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 healthcare to electronics.

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, which replaces the sputtered metal electrode layer within Plastic Logic's conventional devices, bringing product and process benefits.

Graphene is more flexible than conventional ceramic alternatives like indium-tin oxide (ITO) and more transparent than metal films. The ultra-flexible graphene layer may enable a wide range of products, including foldable electronics. Graphene can also be processed from solution bringing inherent benefits of using more efficient printed and roll-to-roll manufacturing approaches.

The new 150 pixel per inch (150 ppi) backplane was made at low temperatures (less than 100°C) 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. Lightweight flexible active-matrix backplanes may also be used for sensors, with novel digital medical imaging and gesture recognition applications already in development.

"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. This cements the Cambridge graphene-technology cluster and shows how an effective academic-industrial partnership is key to help move graphene from the lab to the factory floor."

"The potential of graphene is well-known, but industrial process engineering is now required to transition graphene from laboratories to industry," said Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic. "This demonstration puts Plastic Logic at the forefront of this development, which will soon enable a new generation of ultra-flexible and even foldable electronics"

This joint effort between Plastic Logic and the CGC was also recently boosted by a grant from the UK Technology Strategy Board, within the 'realising the graphene revolution' initiative. This will target the realisation of an advanced, full colour, OELD based display within the next 12 months.

Explore further: Hybrid nanotube-graphene material promises to simplify manufacturing

Related Stories

On the edge of graphene

August 11, 2014

Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) have discovered that the conductivity at the edges of graphene devices is different to the central material.

Graphene reinvents the future

August 27, 2014

For many scientists, the discovery of one-atom-thick sheets of graphene is hugely significant, something with the potential to affect just about every aspect of human activity and endeavour.

Recommended for you

Neuromorphic computing mimics important brain feature

August 18, 2016

(Phys.org)—When you hear a sound, only some of the neurons in the auditory cortex of your brain are activated. This is because every auditory neuron is tuned to a certain range of sound, so that each neuron is more sensitive ...

'Artificial atom' created in graphene

August 22, 2016

In a tiny quantum prison, electrons behave quite differently as compared to their counterparts in free space. They can only occupy discrete energy levels, much like the electrons in an atom - for this reason, such electron ...

Picoscale precision though ultrathin film piezoelectricity

August 10, 2016

Piezoelectricity (aka the piezoelectric effect) occurs within certain materials – crystals (notably quartz), some ceramics, bone, DNA, and a number of proteins – when the application of mechanical stress or vibration ...

7 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

foolspoo
2.8 / 5 (6) Sep 05, 2014
Very exciting. The revolution is on its way
Aligo
Sep 05, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Mike_Massen
1 / 5 (6) Sep 06, 2014
lisaroberts13
Is spamming this site and various other threads with fake income rubbish, he/she/it just joined yesterday 5th Sep and other than 1 post is spreading spam nonsense, please ban people that spam rubbish,
thanks
PhotonX
not rated yet Sep 06, 2014
lisaroberts13
Is spamming this site and various other threads with fake income rubbish, he/she/it just joined yesterday 5th Sep and other than 1 post is spreading spam nonsense, please ban people that spam rubbish,
thanks
Use that 'Report' button, as I have already done, sometimes it actually works, sometimes not.
OZGuy
not rated yet Sep 07, 2014
Mike
Go to http://phys.org/help/feedback/ and submit a complaint
gkam
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 07, 2014
Perhaps we are working ourselves into a problem: I tested graphitic fiber materials for NASA, and found them to be great weapons - they ablate into fine carbon needles which are conductive, opaque to RF, and respirable. Perhaps these fine materials are incompatible with society as they are?
Aligo
Sep 07, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.