Chamelon liquid could replace LCD in monitors

July 17, 2007

A liquid that changes colour when exposed to a magnetic field could cheaply replace the colour components in conventional LCD monitors, claim US researchers.

The liquid contains tiny iron oxide particles coated with plastic. It is cheap and easy to make, and could also be used in flexible, rewritable, electronic paper, the researchers say.

Yadong Yin and colleagues at the Department of Chemistry at University of California, Riverside, US, created the liquid by coating particles of iron oxide – each about 100 nanometres in diameter – with a polymer and suspending the mixture in water.

The colloidal crystal reflects light because the spacing between neighbouring particles in the structure is equivalent to the wavelength of light. Also, tuning the spacing slightly alters the exact wavelength, or colour, of light that is reflected.

“This is the first report of a photonic crystal that is fully tuneable in the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum,” says Yin.

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