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: BMW to reveal driverless innovations that allow for 360- degree collision avoidance and valet parking

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

Poll: Americans skeptical of commercial drones (Update)

21 hours ago

Americans broadly back tight regulations on commercial drone operators, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll, as concerns about privacy and safety override the potential benefits of the heralded drone ...

Cheaper, more powerful VR system for engineers

Dec 17, 2014

It's like a scene from a gamer's wildest dreams: 12 high-definition, 55-inch 3D televisions all connected to a computer capable of supporting high-end, graphics-intensive gaming.

Nokia HERE prepares maps for autonomous cars

Dec 17, 2014

Autonomous cars will need a new kind of map, a crucial element that until now has been given a back seat to the more popularly discussed issues of sensors and legal questions. Senior Writer Greg Miller in ...

Dutch launch 'intelligent bicycle' that warns of danger

Dec 15, 2014

The Netherlands on Monday launched its first-ever "intelligent bicycle", fitted with an array of electronic devices to help bring down the high accident rate among elderly cyclists in the bicycle-mad country.

User comments : 0

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.