New material could ‘revolutionise’ flexi display development

Flexible tablet

A UK university claims to have adapted graphene to produce a superior material for use in flexible displays. GraphExeter, developed at the University of Exeter, is said to be resilient to extreme temperature and humidity and has the potential to revolutionise the electronic industry.

Research published in journal Scientific Reports showed that the material could withstand relative humidity of up to 100% at room temperature for 25 days, as well as temperatures of up to 150C – or as high as 620C in vacuum.

The research team positions the material as a viable alternative to indium tin oxide (ITO), the main conductive material currently used in electronics, such as ‘smart’ mirrors or windows, or even solar panels. They also argue that GraphExeter could extend the lifetime of displays such as TV screens located in highly humid environments, including kitchens.

Lead researcher, University of Exeter engineer Dr Monica Craciun, lead researcher and engineer at the University of Exeter, said: “This is an exciting development in our journey to help GraphExeter revolutionise the electronics industry.

“By demonstrating its stability to being exposed to both high temperatures and humidity, we have shown that it is a practical and realistic alternative to ITO.”

Dr Saverio Russo, the University of Exeter, added: “The superior stability of GraphExeter as compared to graphene was unexpected since the molecules used to make GraphExeter (that is FeCl3) simply melt in air at room temperature.”

Graphene, a one atom thick substance that can conduct electricity, has been looked at for use in flexible displays and speakers for a number of years. These kind of research projects are continuing to make graphene more suitable and more viable for use in mass production of electronics.