Graphene flickers at 400Hz in 2500ppi displays

Graphene flickers at 400Hz in 2500ppi displays
Graphene mechanical devices of 5µm in diameter are used as continuous-spectrum pixels in a reflective-type display of 2500 ppi (pixels per inch). When the GIMOD prototype is OFF (ON), the pixels have a yellow (blue) color. Credit: Dr. Santiago Jose Cartamil-Bueno

With virtual reality (VR) sizzling in every electronic fair, there is a need for displays with higher resolution, frame rates and power efficiency. Now, a joint collaboration of researchers from SCALE Nanotech, Graphenea and TU Delft have used graphene to make reflective-type displays that operate faster and at much higher resolution than existing technologies.

Displays consume the most power in electronic gadgets. Portable devices like smartphones and VR visors therefore require most of the energy from batteries. As an alternative solution, reflective-type displays (like those in e-book readers) consume little power, though they cannot deliver video. Reflective displays that offer the specifications of standard technologies (OLED, LCD) do not exist yet. The good news is that makes this possible.

Graphene, a monolayer of carbon atoms, is the thinnest, strongest material and the best electrical conductor, an ideal combination for micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS). Membranes in a graphene MEMS can be moved by applying an electric potential and, together with the large optical absorption of graphene (2.3 percent of visible light), the researchers used them to make a Graphene Interferometric MOdulator Display or simply GIMOD.

A static image (Graphene Flagship logo) composed by 5µm-in-diameter pixels flickers between yellow and blue. Credit: Dr. Santiago Jose Cartamil-Bueno

"Graphene is a versatile material with excellent mechanical, optical and electrical properties, and the combination of all of them enables the GIMOD technology," leading scientist Dr. Houri says.

Pixels in a GIMOD are electrically controlled membranes that modulate the white light from the environment. Dr. Houri says, "Measurements at TU Delft were sufficient to discover partially the potential of GIMOD pixels. We managed to characterize them up to 400 Hz, but we know they can reproduce the same color state at up to 2000 Hz." Humans cannot perceive flicker images beyond 500-1000Hz, but these displays beat the best commercial screens operating at 144Hz.

Dr. Cartamil-Bueno, the inventor and researcher that fabricated the graphene displays, shares his experience as entrepreneur bringing the GIMOD technology to the market. "We showcased GIMOD prototypes of 2500 pixels per inch (ppi) in the Mobile World Congress, and many players from the industry reacted quite enthusiastically. 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."

Graphene flickers at 400Hz in 2500ppi displays
2500ppi GIMOD prototype showcased at the Mobile World Congress. Credit: Graphene Flagship

The graphene pixels that the researchers presented are 5µm in size, in contrast to those in the Apple iPhone X (55µm), Samsung Galaxy S9 (44µm), and Sony Xperia XZ Premium (31µm). "Our GIMOD prototypes would have a resolution of more than 12K if we make them the size of a smartphone display," says Dr. Cartamil-Bueno.

Explore further

Graphene balloons show their colors

More information: Graphene mechanical pixels for Interferometric Modulator Displays, Nature Communications (2018) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07230-w
Journal information: Nature Communications

Citation: Graphene flickers at 400Hz in 2500ppi displays (2018, November 16) retrieved 22 August 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

Nov 16, 2018
As founder of Blur Busters, I was the first mainstream blogger to test a 480 Hz display (google "480 Hz tests"). I discovered "500-1000Hz" limit is wrong for detection of indirection artifacts.

I have written an article about 1000 Hz displays. Google "1000 Hz Journey". In addition, a lighting industry paper found flicker detected at 5000Hz.

Detection of flicker is not same as detection of indirect artifacts from finite Hz (e.g. wagonwheeleffect / phantom array effect). Direct detection ceases at lower Hz, but other artifacts such as wagonwheel remain -- even at five-digit refresh rates, betraying the fact that a display is finite-refresh-rate display.

display.For 480Hz tests, I had to invent a new motion test called "TestUFO Persistence" -- This special display motion test requires 2000 Hz to be fully resolved at Separation=32 and 1920 pixels/second motion. This test requires higher Hz; it becomes blurry at 480 Hz.

Nov 18, 2018
This is all very nice but we have no display adapters for them.

Cryptocurrency video card use has to end (bitcoin MUST end), and we would have to increase video card power dramatically. Almost an apollo level effort would be required.

we have the advantage (by the time graphene gets to market) of foviated rendering, but it still requires insane hardware to drive 12k, 8k and so on.

I expect this graphene effort to take at least 36 months to hit the shelves, even if it is worked on with much fervor with tons of cash thrown at it. That's the way manufacturing from scratch goes.

Nov 18, 2018

Cryptocurrency video card use has to end (bitcoin MUST end),....

This is like a comment from 2012. How did you time travel from back then to deliver this comment?

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