Researchers at the University of Manchester in the U.K. have demonstrated a method for creating flexible, semi-transparent electronics devices made from graphene.
The University of Manchester team, led by Nobel Laureate Kostya Novoselov, made the breakthrough by creating light-emitting diodes (LEDs) engineered on an atomic level, according to the university.
The researchers say the breakthrough demonstrates the potential for graphene and related two-dimensional materials to be used to make displays for future phones, tablets and TVs. Displays made from these materials would be thin, flexible and durable, the researchers say.
Graphene, a one-atom sheet of pure carbon, has long been considered a promising material for future electronics production. The major obstacle to commercializing graphene has been the high cost to product the material in sufficient quantity. Last year, Samsung announced a breakthrough in producing graphene in manufacturing quantities, a development that could have serious implications for the commercialization of the material.
(Graphene is one of 10 technologies identified by IHS as having the potential to transform the world over the next 10 years).
Freddie Withers, Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow at the University of Manchester, said through a statement that the new LEDs consist of only a few atomic layers of two-dimensional materials, resulting in flexibility and transparency.
“We envisage a new generation of optoelectronic devices to stem from this work, from simple transparent lighting and lasers and to more complex applications,” said Withers, who led the production of the devices.
The LED constructed by the researchers is only 10 to 40 atoms thick, according to the University of Manchester.
The research is detailed in a paper by University of Manchester and University of Sheffield researchers published in the journal Nature Materials.
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