Nano-pixel creation technique discovered at Oxford University
Scientists at Oxford University have discovered a new technique which enables the creation of much smaller display pixels than has been previously possible. The new displays are expected to be useful in applications where displays are magnified or projected such as in smart glasses, synthetic retinas foldable screens and other wearable technology.
We are told that the technology was discovered as the scientists “explored the link between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials“. The material could be drawn upon via a tiny current applied to the ultra-thin material layer in a stack. Interestingly the scientists never set out to make a new display technology. Each pixel can be as small as 300 nanometres square.
To give you an idea of the density and resolving power of such small pixels using this display technique it is possible to make detailed graphic display quality images on a surface thinner than a strand of human hair. See an example of six such images above.
While the research is still in its early stages the scientists have applied for a patent and is discussing the tech with various companies who might be interested in such tightly packed pixels. The displays have some similarities to e-ink in that they only need power to change or update what is shown. However they also have full colour capability as they can be ‘tuned’ to any colour the scientists have chosen.
More technical readers might be interested to know that “The phase change material used was the alloy Ge2Sb2Te5 (Germanium-Antimony-Tellurium or GST) sandwiched between electrode layers made of indium tin oxide (ITO).”
These tiny incredible high resolution displays might have a big part to play in future wearables we think.