A group of researchers from the University of Exeter has found a unique new method to improve the efficiency of flexible screens. The team consisting of physicists and engineers have made a new discovery regarding the potential of GraphExeter.
Fold-able GraphExeter Light is shown. (Credit: University of Exeter)
GraphExeter is a material that has been designed by modifying the ‘wonder material’ graphene. The team believes that this material could aid in the development of big, flexible, flat lighting.
By replacing the pure graphene with GraphExeter, the researchers have been able to maximize the brightness of the flexible lighting by nearly 50%. Though it is a modified form of graphene, GraphExeter is the most lightweight, flexible and transparent material and this makes is conducive for conducting electricity.
According to the results of the study, GraphExeter is also capable of increasing the efficiency of the lights by 30% more than that of the other flexible lights, which are based on the latest commercial polymers.
The team believes that the discovery can be a major help in making flexible screens, which can be used in smartphones, display screens, and wearable electronic devices like clothing containing MP3 players or computers.
The research was published in the June 16, 2016, issue of the scientific journal, ACS Materials and Interfaces.
This exciting development shows there is a bright future for the use of GraphExeter in transforming flexible lighting on a mass scale, and could help revolutionise the electronics industry. Not only are lights that utilise GraphExeter much brighter, they are also far more resilient to repeated flexing, which makes 'bendy' screens much more feasible for day to day goods such as mobile phones.
Dr Saverio Russo, Physicist, University of Exeter
The idea of flexible screens is still in early stages. Due to the materials used in production of flexible screens, the screen has only been successfully used in small sizes. Increasing the size of the screen has a visible effect on the brightness of the screens.
By using graphene instead of GraphExeter, the team was able to develop a lit screen that displayed a much more consistent and greater light than has earlier been possible. The screens were capable of enduring repeated flexing, giving them longer shelf-lives
The next step will be to embed these ultra-flexible GraphExeter lights on textile fibres and pioneer ground-breaking applications in health care light therapy.
Dr Monica Craciun, University of Exeter
Graphene is only one atom thick, making it the thinnest material capable of conducting electricity. Graphene, known as a strong material, is also very flexible. Engineers and scientists have been trying to modify graphene to use it for flexible electronics, where its high flexibility and strength can be put to use. This is challenging because of graphene’s sheet resistance, and it dissipates huge volumes of energy.
This challenging feat was achieved by two teams of researchers, headed by Dr Craciun and Profesor Russo at the University of Exeter's Centre for Graphene Science. In 2012, these teams discovered a unique system that is over 1000 times better at conducting electricity than graphene. This system that involved sandwiching ferric chloride molecules between two graphene layers resulted in the creation of a more transparent conductor of electricity. The team has now discovered that its modified system, GraphExeter, is a more stable alternative for transparent conductors used in the display industry.