Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology have developed new electronic paper that contains gold, silver and PET plastic. The layer that produces the colors is less than a micrometer thin and their prototype currently displays red, green and blue (RGB) colors that together can create all the colors in standard LED displays.
Andreas Dahlin and his PhD student Kunli Xiong were working on placing conductive polymers on nanostructures, they discovered that the combination would be perfectly suited to creating electronic displays as thin as paper. “The ‘paper’ is similar to the Kindle tablet,” says Andreas Dahlin. “It isn’t lit up like a standard display, but rather reflects the external light which illuminates it. Therefore it works very well where there is bright light, such as out in the sun, in contrast to standard LED displays that work best in darkness. At the same time it needs only a tenth of the energy that a Kindle tablet uses, which itself uses much less energy than a tablet LED display.”
“We are working at a fundamental level but even so, the step to manufacturing a product out of it shouldn’t be too far away. What we need now are engineers.”
This technology is going to be fairly expensive due to the need of gold and silver, two precious metals. It remains to be seen if it will be picked up by an established company such as E-ink or Plastic Logic.