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Australian/UK team develop next-generation display screen technology

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A team of researchers from Australian and UK universities has developed a proof-of-concept for “metasurface” technology, claiming strong advantages over LCD screens.

The team from UNSW Canberra and the Australian National University, as well as the UK’s Nottingham Trent University, developed novel cells that are 100 times thinner and offer ten times the resolution – as well as major energy savings – versus LCD, the dominant type of screen in TVs and computer monitors.

PhD scholar at ANU Khosro Zangeneh Kamali, who is the first author of the study, said metasurfaces are proven to exhibit extraordinary optical behaviour, and inventing an effective way to control metasurfaces was still a subject of heavy research. 

“We have proposed electrically tunable silicon nanostructures, which is a versatile platform for programmable metasurfaces.”

“Our pixels are made of silicon, which offers a long life span in contrast with organic materials required for other existing alternatives,” said Professor Andrey Miroshnichenko, a lead researcher in the Nanophotonics team at UNSW Canberra

“Moreover, silicon is widely available, CMOS compatible with mature technology, and cheap to produce.” 

The team, which published its research in the journal Light: Science & Applications, hopes to build a large-scale prototype based on their new pixels within five years, and potentially be in commercial use within a decade.

It is hoped the new cells could enable the next generation of flatscreen TVs, a market worth about $117 billion in 2020, noted Miroshnichenko.

“We have paved the way to break a technology barrier by replacing the liquid crystal layer in current displays with a metasurface, enabling us to make affordable flat screens liquid crystal-free,” said lead researcher Mohsen Rahmani, Professor of Engineering at Nottingham Trent University.

Picture: credit Andrey Miroshnichenko/UNSW Canberra

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