Future Displays May Be Made Of Water And Air

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   (2012-06-22 00:00:00)

Washington: Unbelievable, but it is possible that all our digital displays may attain the ultimate act of enlightenment and be made of nothing but air and water.

Some researchers at Aalto University in Finland have discovered an innovative way to write and display information using only air and water, Discovery News reported.

In addition, they've drawn inspiration from the water-repelling flower that's an emblem of enlightenment and non-attachment: the Sacred Lotus.

What researchers did was immerse a dual-structured, superhydrophobic surface under water. That surface featured structures in two size scales: microposts approximately 0.0004 inches in size and tiny nanofilaments that were then grown onto the microposts.

On this two-layered surface a layer of air is able to exist in two different shapes that correspond to the two size scales. Researchers used a jet of water to switch between dry and wet states by exploiting the pressure of the water.

The study led by Robin Ras was conducted in conjunction with the Nokia Research Center and University of Cambridge.

"The minimal energy needed to switch between the states means the system is bistable, which is the essential property of memory devices," Ras said in an Aalto Univrsity press release.

However, the best part of this is that this process allowed Ras and company to draw shapes on the underwater surface. Think of it as an underwater Etch A Sketch.

"Combined with the optical effect, the surface is also a bistable reflective display," added Ras.

While a water-and-air LCD flat screen may be a long way, this technology is making a splash, small as it may be.

"This result represents the first step in making non-wettable surfaces a platform for storing or even processing information," said Academy of Finland professor Olli Ikkala.

The researchers published their finding in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).