A group of researchers has created the smallest pixels in the world, a million times smaller than those used in most smartphones.
The “new” pixels could be used on screens that are so large that they could cover entire buildings in a sustainable way since in addition to cheaper they would not need a constant supply of energy.
Making large-area screens is an expensive process because it requires several “high precision layers”, explain in a note the authors of the study, researchers at the University of Cambridge.
Now, thanks to the creation of these mini-pixels, a million times smaller than those used in smartphone screens, the process becomes cheaper “drastically”, according to Science Advances magazine.
A pixel is the basic unit of color that makes up a digital image and whose dimensions determine the quality of the image: the smaller the size, the higher the resolution.
The new invention, in addition to cheapening the production process, does not need constant energy to maintain color, which makes large screens viable and sustainable.
“The tools we have used are not the usual ones in nanotechnology, but this radical approach is necessary for sustainable technologies to be possible,” said theNanophotonics Center at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge and director of the study, Jeremy J. Baumberg.
These new mini-pixels are able to trap light between a grain of gold and a reflective surface and are coated with a polymer that, when electricity is applied, changes color.
In addition, to apply them, they are simply sprayed as an aerosol on a flexible plastic surface.
Among the possible applications of this invention are, in addition to large screens, architecture to quench heat loads and even clothing and camouflage coatings.
The research has been funded thanks to the Research Council of Physical Sciences and Engineering of the United Kingdom and the European Research Council, in addition to the China Scholarship Council.