Physicists develop new touchscreen technology

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Scientists from the University of Sussex develop an alternative advanced touchscreen technology. This new touchscreen technology overcomes the deficit in the traditional display, phone and tablet material that depends on electrodes made from indium tin oxide (ITO). Scientists showed that now it is possible to create extremely small pixels, small enough for high-definition LCD displays. For example, smartphones and the next generation of television and computer screens.

In previous research, silver nanowires match with transmittances and conductivities of ITO films and also surpasses them. Thus, the material is extremely attractive for touchscreens. Although, for the first time, such kind of nanomaterial is compatible with more demanding applications like LCD and OLED displays.

According to professor Dalton, “Display technologies like LCD and OLED use pixels to form images. Each pixel is further broken down into subpixels; typically, one each for red, green and blue colours. In the smartphone’s display, these subpixels are less than a sixth of the width of a human hair which is also similar in length to the silver nanowires used in our research.”

He said, “Silver nanowire and silver nanowire/graphene hybrids are probably the most viable alternatives to existing technologies. Others scientists have studied several alternative materials. But the main issue is, the majority of other materials do not effectively compete with ITO. We can say, they are too expensive to produce, at least at the moment.”

Dr. Matthew Large, the lead author of the paper, claimed: “We have applied a mathematical technique to work out the smallest subpixel size. Thus, we can make it without affecting the properties of our nanowire electrodes. This method was originally developed to describe phase changes like freezing in very small spaces. The results tell us how to tune our nanowires to meet the requirements of any given application.”

Scientists are now looking to apply the results to commercial projects. They also demonstrated that the incorporation of silver nanowires into a multi-touch sensor actually reduces the production cost and energy usage.

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