It's been a little while since we've heard of any significant progress in field-emission displays
, but a group of researchers at the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign now seem to be shaking things up a bit, with them touting new copper nanowires that could one day be used for ultra-thin FED screens. Specifically, the copper nanowires developed by Kyekyoon Kim and Hyungsoo Choi are between 70 nanometers and 250 nanometers wide, and can be "grown" on various surfaces including silicon, glass, metal, and plastic. As Technology Review reports, in the case of field-emission displays, the nanowires would be used to fire electrons at phosphor particles on a screen to light them up. That process would result in displays that are not only thinner than traditional flat-panel displays, but brighter and more energy-efficient as well -- assuming they ever find their way out of the lab, that is.