Consumer Electronics

Cuttable Display Sheet Developed

15 August 2016

Displays capable of showing letters and images are common in today’s electronic devices. But as demand grows for displays that can present information in a variety of forms, such as digital signage and wearable devices, conventional LCD and OEL displays are limited in that they cannot simply be cut into different shapes, sizes and patterns.

Display sheet is cut with scissors (left). The sheet’s display function is intact, even after being cut into smaller pieces (right). Source: NIMS Display sheet is cut with scissors (left). The sheet’s display function is intact, even after being cut into smaller pieces (right). Source: NIMS Now researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science, or NIMS, have developed new display sheets that can be cut into any shape with scissors and could represent the future of display technology.

Conventional displays are not cuttable because the contents of both LCDs and OELs need to be sealed. Liquid Crystal Displays, for example, contain liquid while Organic Electroluminescence, or OEL, panels are susceptible to water, oxygen and other impurities. Moreover, because these displays require a continuous power supply to maintain their functions, they must be connected to a power source or a drive. As a result, it has been difficult to develop cuttable displays using existing technologies.

NIMS researchers found a promising solution by creating a display sheet using an organic, metal hybrid polymer with electrochromic properties—in other words, a substance that changes color when charged with electricity. The polymer can be sprayed onto a flexible substrate to form a coating layer to protect against moisture and oxygen.

The new display sheets can be cut with scissors into any shape, require only a few seconds of electrical input to switch visual information, and are capable of functioning while detached from a power source, researchers said.

Further research will focus on increasing the display area of the sheets and making them capable of displaying multiple colors.

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