Window display

Apr 14, 2009

Just one click and the window turns into a display. At the Hannover Messe from April 20 to 24, Fraunhofer research scientists will be demonstrating light-permeable conductive coatings as the basis for transparent displays.

A movie hero points a remote control at a window through which you can see a green park landscape. A few seconds later colorful letters and images appear on the glass. In the future, such scenarios could be part of everyday life. The basis for these transparent displays is provided by light-permeable coatings which conduct electricity. At present their manufacture is cost-intensive, however, and small series are not an economic proposition.

This will change in the future: research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institutes for Surface Engineering and IST in Braunschweig, for Solar Energy Systems ISE in Freiburg, for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg, for Mechanics of Materials IWM and for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden are pooling their expertise. “Institutes with different types of expertise in the production of coatings have got together to provide the first contact point for conductive transparent coatings,” explains Dr. Bernd Szyszka, department manager at the IST.

The research scientists are pursuing two approaches. The first involves directly printing the structures. Up to now, the coatings have been structured by lithographic processes, an elaborate and cost-intensive exercise. There is a special technique, the sol-gel process, by which the coatings can be simply applied by printing, but to date the conductivity of the coatings produced in this way has not been good enough for transparent displays. “We have already been able to improve the conductivity of the printed coatings fivefold, which makes them suitable for displays, and we believe we can improve them even further. At present their conductivity is a tenth of that achieved by conventional coatings,” says Löbmann. The researchers have already produced initial demonstrators. Apart from being easy to manufacture, the printed coatings have further advantages. They are cheaper than conventional techniques and the new process is about one order of magnitude faster.

The second approach being pursued by the researchers is to develop new types of coatings which conduct electricity differently from conventional coatings. “Conventionally, the transparent coatings have been n-conductors. But in these semiconductors, electrons carry the current flow,” project manager Dr. Peer Löbmann from the ISC. “We are developing transparent coatings made of p-conducting materials, in which moving gaps between the electrons conduct the current.” Although these materials do not conduct the current as well as n-conductors and are not as transparent, if n-conductors are combined with the p-conductors they can be used to make transparent diodes, transistors and solar cells. The researchers have already recorded their first success and have produced a transparent conductor using the sol-gel process. In a further step they are now improving the conductivity of the coatings.

Provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: Bringing history and the future to life with augmented reality

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Displays that give a clear view

Jan 04, 2006

Displays made of organic LEDs are brightly lit but tend to be mostly opaque. Making them transparent opens up a whole new world of applications: OLEDs can be wedded with conventional LCDs and transform laminated ...

Nano World: Clear, hard nano-based coating

Dec 13, 2005

A transparent coating loaded with particles only nanometers or billionths of a meter in diameter is far harder than other conventional organic coatings on the market, for potential use in everything from iPods and cell phones ...

Researchers Develop a Better Coating Solution

Jun 24, 2004

Innovative researchers at The University of Queensland have come up with a way to stop your bathroom mirrors, spectacles and swim goggles from ever fogging up again. UQ physicists Dr Paul Meredith and Dr Mi ...

Titania nanotubes make better solar cells

Feb 08, 2006

A solar cell, made of titania nanotubes and natural dye, may be the answer to making solar electricity production cost-effective, according to a Penn State researcher.

Recommended for you

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

Apr 16, 2014

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Neuroscientist's idea wins new-toy award

Apr 15, 2014

When he was a child, Robijanto Soetedjo used to play with his electrically powered toys for a while and then, when he got bored, take them apart - much to the consternation of his parents.

Land Rover demos invisible bonnet / car hood (w/ video)

Apr 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —Land Rover has released a video demonstrating a part of its Discover Vision Concept—the invisible "bonnet" or as it's known in the U.S. the "hood" of the car. It's a concept the automaker ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...