Conical nanocarbon structures could lead to flexible transparent field emission displays

center_img (PhysOrg.com) — During the past several years, researchers have used carbon nanotubes and nanofibers to fabricate a variety of transparent, flexible devices, such as OLEDs, transistors, and solar cells. But the development of transparent and flexible field electron emitters made of these nanomaterials still remains a challenge. In a new study, a team of researchers from Japan and Malaysia has shown that the key to the challenge may lie in the unique geometry of conical nanocarbon structures (CNCSs). In their experiments, the scientists bombarded a nafion substrate with argon ions for 30 seconds at room temperature. The irradiation produced uniformly distributed CNCSs over the entire nafion surface. The scientists measured that individual CNCSs had a base diameter of about 200 nanometers and a length/height of a few hundred nanometers, which is smaller than the wavelength of visible light. Overall, the material’s emission characteristics (its turn-on and threshold fields) were comparable to previous opaque electron emitters.As the researchers explain, the new method of using CNCSs for constructing transparent and flexible field electron emitters has several advantages. The method is simple in that it can be performed at room temperature, doesn’t require a catalyst, and doesn’t risk damaging the substrate. The scientists attribute these advantages to the unique conical geometry of the CNCSs. As a next step, the scientists plan to fabricate a transparent, flexible phosphor material, which is necessary for observing visible light emission and for the future construction of complete FEDs. The researchers predict that the technique could lead to transparent, flexible FEDs that are lightweight and inexpensive.“FED is a kind of flat panel display,” Tanemura explained. “Compared with other types of flat panel displays such as LCDs and electroluminescence displays, FED is advantageous in its brightness and size (a huge size is possible).” He added that transparent, flexible FEDs have great potential for applications including so-called head-up displays and highly intelligent information displays used in the coming ubiquitous world, when computers become thoroughly integrated into our everyday activities. “For example, head-up displays will be used on a curved front glass of vehicles (airplanes, trains, cars, and so on), full-face helmets, spectacles, and so on,” he said. “Usually it is transparent, but various kinds of information, such as maps, customer information, alarms, and security, will be displayed on demand. In the ubiquitous world, displays should be foldable (rollable) and light for mobility. You can enjoy TV, movies, games, communication, and obtain various kinds of information using an unfolded wide screen. Transparent and flexible FEDs make it realistic!” Citation: Conical nanocarbon structures could lead to flexible, transparent field emission displays (2010, March 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2010-03-conical-nanocarbon-flexible-transparent-field.html This SEM image shows conical nanocarbon structures (CNCSs) fabricated on a transparent and flexible nafion substrate. Because the CNCSs are smaller than the wavelength of visible light, they have given transparency and flexibility to field electron emission sources for the first time. Image copyright: Pradip Ghosh, et al. ©2010 ACS.last_img

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