Common LCD and OEL displays are able to show most images and letters and can be found in most electronic devices that we use on a day-to-day basis. There is an increased demand for more state-of-the-art displays that would be able to display data in a range of forms including wearable devices and digital signage.
Masayoshi Higuchi, Electronic Functional Macromolecules Group leader at the Research Center for Functional Materials, NIMS, led a research group that created new sheets for displays that scissors can cut into any shape. Once the display is cut it can be attached onto any object even one with a complex shape like a building or clothing. Today’s display technologies cannot fulfill this need for diverse shapes.
Currently conventional displays can’t be cut into a wide range of shapes because the OEL and LCD contents need to be sealed. OELs are quite susceptible to oxygen, water and various other impurities while LCDs have liquid inside them. As well, a continuous supply of power is required for these displays to work so they must be hooked up to a drive or a power source. With these restrictions in place it has been challenging to create displays that are cuttable using current technologies.
This research group was able to put together these versatile display sheets by using a metal/organic hybrid polymer with electrochromic properties. When this type of polymer is sprayed on a flexible material it forms a layer of coating that is oxygen and moisture stable. As well, electrical input is only required for a few seconds when switching on the visual information and when the supply of power is turned off the display will continue to work. As a result, this sheet type device for displaying information can function when the power source is detached and when cut into a complex shape.
The display area may be increased in future studies and at that time it may also be able to show data in a variety of colors. The group also wants to propose a concept involving new technology that allows individuals to freely make color changes to objects such as windows, the exterior or interior of buildings and vehicles, sunglasses and umbrellas while displaying symbols and letters as appropriate.