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Pivoting Pixels


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Gears in motion

Credit: Alamay

National Chiao Tung University researchers have developed a method for using micro-electromechanical systems (MEMs) to create mechanical pixels for computerized displays.

The new screens involve moving individual pixels around, creating iridescent interference patterns in the process, which should be as easy to see in bright sunlight as the reflective electronic paper used in devices such as the Kindle. In addition, the screens would use far less power than the liquid-crystal displays that are used in most computers.

The researchers, led by Wallen Mphepo, created pixels that are pieces of zirconium dioxide, 30 microns across, coated on one side with a layer of silver 1.23 microns thick to create a mirror-like surface. The tiny mirrors can be tilted electrostatically, using a voltage applied by a thin-film transistor. The length of the paths of rays of light can be changed according to the angle of tilt, which affects the wavelength, and thus the color of the light, amplifying some colors and canceling others out.

From Economist
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