Dynamically Tunable, Single Pixel Full-Color Plasmonic Display

Technology #33838

Key Points

  • A new type of reflective display that eliminates the need for subpixels
  • With the device, the surface of each pixel dynamically changes color and increases the resolution of any screen while using the same thin-film transistor (TFT) array and electronics
  • Applications for low-power reflective displays (phones, watches, tablets, e-readers, wearables), clothing (uniforms, camouflage), micro projectors, optics for virtual reality headsets

Abstract

The University of Central Florida invention demonstrates a liquid crystal-plasmonic system that covers the full red-green-blue (RGB) color basis set, only as a function of voltage, for the first time. Nematic liquid crystals are long rod‐shaped molecules that have extraordinary properties, most importantly: long-range order and alignment with an electric field. This allows liquid crystals to actively control the color reflected from metallic nanostructures enabling the film formed out of this technology to take any color to match the background to camouflage.

Dynamic, color-changing surfaces have many applications including but not limited to displays, wearables and active camouflage. Plasmonic nanostructures can fill this role with the advantages of ultra-small pixels, high reflectivity, and post-fabrication tuning through control of the surrounding media. The UCF technology greatly advances post-fabrication tuning through a surface morphology induced, polarization-dependent plasmonic resonance and a combination of bulk and surface liquid crystal effects that manifest at different voltages. The resulting LC-plasmonic system provides an unprecedented color range for a single plasmonic nanostructure, eliminating the need for the three spatially static sub-pixels of current displays. The system is compatible with existing LCD technology by integrating it with a commercially available thin-film-transistor (TFT) array. The imprinted surface interfaces readily with computers to display images as well as video.