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Graphene-based flexible display is 'world's first'

Plastic Logic and the Cambridge Graphene Centre have created the world's first graphene-based flexible display

In what has been described as a significant step towards graphene-based flexible electronics, Plastic Logic and the Cambridge Graphene Centre have created the first electrophoretic display exploiting graphene in its pixels' electronics.

The new prototype is an active matrix electrophoretic display, similar to the screens used in today's e-readers, except it is made of flexible plastic instead of glass.

In contrast to conventional displays, the pixel electronics, or backplane, includes a solution-processed graphene electrode, which replaces the sputtered metal electrode layer within Plastic Logic's conventional devices, bringing product and process benefits.

"The potential of graphene is well known, but industrial process engineering is now required to transition graphene from laboratories to industry," said Plastic Logic's CEO Indro Mukerjee. "This demonstration will soon enable a new generation of ultra flexible and even foldable electronics."

The 150ppi backplane was made at low temperatures (less than 100°C) using Plastic Logic's Organic Thin Film Transistor (OTFT) technology. The graphene electrode was deposited from solution and then patterned with micron-scale features.

For the prototype, the backplane was combined with an electrophoretic imaging film to create an ultra low power and durable display.

The researchers say future demonstrations may incorporate LCD and OLED technology to achieve full colour and video functionality.
Lightweight, flexible active matrix backplanes may also be used for sensors, with novel digital medical imaging and gesture recognition applications already in development.

"This is a significant step forward to enable fully wearable and flexible devices," said Professor Andrea Ferrari, Director of the Cambridge Graphene Centre.

Laura Hopperton

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