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Electric sponge promises color e-paper

  December 22/29, 2008
Come up with the right type of sponge and you have the main ingredient for a new color display.

The polymer gel has regularly-spaced microscopic holes that scatter light so it reflects only one wavelength, which makes the material appear a specific color. The color depends on the size of the holes.

The material is filled with a liquid electrolyte, and sending electricity through the material causes it to absorb the electrolyte and swell like a wet sponge. The voltage determines the amount of swelling and thus the color.

The color-changing process is fast and consistent. The material could be used to make pixels for reflective, high-contrast displays, including electronic paper.

Research paper:
Electroactive Inverse Opal: A Single Material for All Colors
Angewandte Chemie International Edition, published online December 3, 2008

Researchers' homepages:
Geoffrey A. Ozin research group
Andre C. Arsenault
Ian Manners

Related stories and briefs:
Muscling up color displays -- related research

Back to TRN December 22/29, 2008

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