While there's plenty of discoveries that no doubt wouldn't have been possible without coffee
, few have been as directly influenced as this latest fit of inspiration from Ivan Vakarelski of the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences in Singapore, who apparently saw the future of TV screens in a coffee stain. More specifically, he was intrigued by the way a coffee spill dried into a circular stain, which, as New Scientist notes, is effectively caused by coffee granules being "assembled" by the varying evaporation and convection rates in the fluid. That process, Vakarelski thought, could be replicated artificially to create a better coating for LCD and plasma screens, and he and his colleagues were ultimately able to do just that with a suspension of gold particles that were left to dry on a glass plate covered with closely packed latex microspheres. According to Vakarelski, the resulting network of gold nanoparticles is "finer than spider's silk," and potentially even more conductive than the ITO coatings commonly used today. Of course, it's still a long ways from actually be used on LCDs, although the researchers have already created coatings a few square centimeters in size, and say they plan to increase that "tenfold" as soon as possible.
[Via New Scientist