Intelligent Machines

Flexible Displays

Carbon nanotubes are showing promise in flexible, low-power displays.

Carbon nanotubes’ unique electronic properties make them promising as, among other things, ultra-efficient “electron emitters” for bright, low-power displays. Now, researchers have found a way to pattern nanotubes onto plastic sheets for flexible displays.

The new method, developed by researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Northeastern University, and New Mexico State University, starts with a surface prepatterned to specify where multiwalled nanotubes will grow on it. The researchers pour a liquid over the nanotubes and cook it until it forms a polymer. They then peel off the polymer and nanotubes. The polymer preserves the pattern right down to the positions of indi-vidual nanotubes, which it keeps aligned.

For displays, where single nanotubes must be isolated from others to get the best efficiencies, the researchers strip off a layer of polymer to expose the tips of nanotubes, then burn off long or tangled nanotubes, leaving isolated ones. “The results we’ve seen are some of the best that have been reported in the literature,” says Swastik Kar, a postdoctoral researcher at RPI and a lead author of the paper. Prototype displays are still a few years off.

Tech Obsessive?
Become an Insider to get the story behind the story — and before anyone else.

Subscribe today

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Premium {! insider.prices.premium !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Our award winning magazine, unlimited access to our story archive, special discounts to MIT Technology Review Events, and exclusive content.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

    First Look. Exclusive early access to stories.

    Insider Conversations. Listen in as our editors talk to innovators from around the world.

  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus ad-free web experience, select discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

    Access to the Magazine archive. Over 24,000 articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips.

    Special Discounts to select partner offerings

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning magazine and daily delivery of The Download, our newsletter of what’s important in technology and innovation.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Bimonthly home delivery and unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website.

    The Download. Our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation.

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.