Scientists have created images of ultrahigh resolution by applying electrical current to phase-change material.
To do so, the Oxford University researchers placed a layer of the material, which can switch between amorphous and crystalline state, between two transparent electrodes.
The images thus produced feature pixels just 300 nanometers across and are smaller than the width of a human hair.
Lead researcher Professor Harish Bhaskaran of Oxford University’s Department of Materials said, “We were exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials and then had the idea of creating this GST ‘sandwich’ made up of layers just a few nanometres thick.”
“We found that not only were we able to create images in the stack but, to our surprise, thinner layers of GST actually gave us better contrast. We also discovered that altering the size of the bottom electrode layer enabled us to change the color of the image.’
Peiman Hosseini, from Oxford University’s Department of Materials, said, “We can tune our prototype ‘pixels’ to create any color we want – including the primary colors needed for a display.”
Potential application, which Bhaskaran said was at least five years away, is in wearable technology, smart contact lenses or foldable screens.
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