16.03.12

MIT breakthrough paves way for woven 3D displays

Three-dimensional displays could soon be woven from light-emitting fibres barely thicker than a human hair, according to MIT researchers. In a paper published on the Nature Photonics website, the researchers claimed the woven flexible fibres could project different information to viewers’ left and right eyes. The construction method means, theoretically, displays could be made to stretch kilometres.

"The coolest thing about this work, really, is the way it’s made," says Marko Loncar, an associate professor of electrical engineering at Harvard University. "The technology that they used to do it, basically, they can make kilometers of these things. It’s remarkable."

The newly developed fibre has a hollow core; surrounding this core are alternating layers of materials with different optical properties, which together act as a mirror. In the core is a droplet of fluid that can be moved up and down the fiber. When the droplet receives energy, or is "pumped" — in experiments, the researchers used another laser to pump the droplet — it emits light. The light bounces back and forth between the mirrors, emerging from the core as a 360-degree laser beam.

MIT news story