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Nanotechnology enables ultra high-def LCDs, cheaper stacked-electrode OLED screens

Sean Hollister

Pixel density enthusiasts, pay close attention, because science is ready to blow your minds -- the University of Michigan has developed an LCD technology that can display their logo in a space just nine microns high. By creating a filter made of microscopic metal gratings with differently sized holes just a few hundred nanometers wide, researchers discovered they could precisely capture wavelengths associated to red, green and blue light, producing pixels roughly eight times smaller than those in the iPhone 4's famous screen, and entire images that could practically fit inside a single dot of Kopin's microdisplay.

Meanwhile, OLEDs (which don't require filters to produce their color) saw a nanotech breakthrough of their own last week, as a group at the University of Florida have discovered that carbon nanotubes can revitalize a once-inefficient but promising vertical stacking technique. Layering thin sheets of aluminum, carbon nanotubes, organic material and finally gold on top of a glass substrate, scientists have created OLEDs that promise to be cheaper, faster and require one-tenth of the power of those using polycrystalline silicon, and could theoretically be printed as a flexible display as well. Here's hoping we'll see the fruits of these fellows' labors soon -- we can't wait to pen a follow-up to this epic fight.

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