Scientists Develop Nanophotonic 3D Printing for Virtual Reality Screens

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In Korea, scientists are turning to better ways for improving our screen time, and this means 3D printing something most of us know little about: quantum dots. Focusing on refining the wonders of virtual reality and other electronic displays even further, researchers from the Nano Hybrid Technology Research Center of Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI), a government-funded research institute under National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST) of the Ministry of Science and ICT (MSIT), have created nanophotonic 3D printing technology for screens. Meant to be used with virtual reality, as well as TVs, smartphones, and wearables, high resolution is achieved due to a 3D layout expanding the density and quality of the pixels.

Led by Dr. Jaeyeon Pyo and Dr. Seung Kwon Seol, the team has published the results of their research and development in “3D-Printed Quantum Dot Nanopixels.” While pixels are produced to represent data in many electronics, conventionally they are created with 2D patterning. To overcome limitations in brightness and resolution, the scientists elevated this previously strained technology to the next level with 3D printed quantum dots to be contained within polymer nanowires.

Powered by light or electricity, dots light up in an array of colors which then translate into the appropriate display. Usually, pixels are covered in a light film for creating a better display, with the ability to see images more clearly; in this research though, the KERI scientists decided to eliminate the film coating in place of a 3D structure, featuring pixels with a lateral dimension of 620nm and 10,000nm in height.

“The 3D structure enabled a 2-fold increase in brightness without significant effects on the spatial resolution of the pixels,” explained the researchers in their abstract. “In addition, we demonstrate individual control of the brightness based on a simple adjustment of the height of the 3D pixels.”

With the potential for printing onto polyimide (PI) or polyethylene terephthalate (PET), flexible platforms can also be fabricated for use with wearables or other devices, including those that may require a rollable display.

KERI scientists developed a technology to produce a ‘nano display’ with a phenomenal resolution based on the 3D printing technique and posted the result of the study on a SCI journal, garnering much global attention (Image: KERI)

“It is not easy to find cases of using 3D printing techniques to the display industry across the world. We took a different approach from previous 3D printing research, which was mostly relying on foreign tools and equipment,” said Dr. Jaeyeon Pyo. “It can be considered as a complete technology independence to develop an ‘integrated solution’ from 3D printing materials to original technology and equipment.”

[Source / Images: EurekAlert; “3D-Printed Quantum Dot Nanopixels”]

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