SMART glasses, foldable screens and synthetic retinas could all be further revolutionised thanks to a discovery made by Oxford University scientists.
Tiny high-resolution pictures, almost invisible to the human eye and half the width of a human hair, have been created by Professor Harish Bhaskaran, associate professor of materials, and his team.
They have now recreated detailed images, including Katsushika Hokusai’s The Wave, to demonstrate the possibilities of the technology.
Prof Bhaskaran said: “These pictures were chosen because they displayed the colours and resolutions best,” he said.
- A butterfly
These minuscule creations could be joined to create the basis of a high-resolution display screen when put on ultra thin films, which could be used for things such as glasses or a car windshield.
Prof Bhaskaran said: “Because the layers that make up our devices can be deposited as thin films they can be incorporated into very thin flexible materials – we have already demonstrated that the technique works on flexible Mylar sheets around 200 nanometres thick.
- A car
“This makes them potentially useful for ‘smart’ glasses, foldable screens, windshield displays, and even synthetic retinas that mimic the abilities of photoreceptor cells in the human eye.”
He added: “I have been an experimental scientist for a long time and this is one of the results that worked well repeatedly.
“We are very pleased with it and want to take it forward.
“We now want to make it commercially viable and try and create a prototype.”
- Katsushika Hokusai’s The Wave
A patent has now been submitted by the scientists to Isis Innovation, the university’s technology transfer company.
The discovery was made while researching the link between electrical and optical properties of change materials.
These materials can change from being fluid to being in a crystalline state.
- A bug
The scientists discovered pictures could be created if they used a tiny laser to draw on a seven-nanometre thick layer of the material between two layers of electrodes, which were transparent.
By altering the thickness of the bottom layer of electrodes they found they could alter the colours created by the laser.
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