Impurities during the production process of liquid crystal devices result in mobile ions that influence the LCs' field-induced switching phenomena, resulting in a phenomenon called image sticking, or ghosting. Researchers now have developed a method to reduce the presence of excess ions by doping LCDs with ferroelectric nanoparticles. They demonstrate that this reduction of free ions has coherent impacts on the LC's conductivity, rotational viscosity, and electric field-induced nematic switching.
Electrochromic devices are some of the most attractive candidates for paper-like displays, so called electronic paper, which will be the next generation display. Researchers have now demonstrated solid state flexible polymer based electrochromic devices are fabricated continuously by stacking layers in one direction. This novel bottom-up approach with no need for a lamination step enables fully printed and 2D patterned organic electrochromics.
In order to fabricate entirely flexible electronic devices, the components that power them - such as batteries - not only need to be fully flexible as well but they have to be compatible with commercially available manufacturing technologies. This would require achieving a high degree of deformability without using elastomeric materials. Researchers have now demonstrated the fabrication of a highly deformable lithium-ion battery using standard electrodes and commercially standard packaging technologies.
Their unique combinations of liquid and solid-like properties allow liquid crystals to be used pervasively in the electro-optical display technology - known as liquid crystal display (LCD). In new work, researchers have observed that a dilute suspension of a small amount of multi-walled carbon nanotubes in a nematic liquid crystal (in the nematic LC phase the molecules are oriented in parallel but not arranged in well-defined planes) results in a significantly faster nematic switching effect on application of an electric field.
Researchers have exploited the extraordinary electrical and mechanical properties of graphene to create a very efficient electrical/sound transducer. This experimental graphene loudspeaker, without any optimized acoustic design, is simple to make and already performs comparably to or better than similar sized commercial counterparts, and with much lower power consumption. Most speakers available today reproduce sound via a mechanical diaphragm, which is displaced oscillatorily during operation. A wide-band audio speaker typically requires significant damping to broaden the response. Even without optimization, the graphene speaker is able to produce frequency response across the whole audible region, comparable or superior to performance of conventional-design commercial counterparts.
Just like other industry sectors, the furniture industry is trying to get more efficient by minimizing material use, minimizing waste, and optimizing energy consumption while improving the performance of their products. Nanotechnology and nanomaterials can play an important role in achieving these goals. A recent project mapped current uses and near future perspective on nanomaterials in the European furniture sector. It looked at innovative materials and potentials of nanotechnology that may positively affect the furniture sector; it also considered possible health risks and steps towards workplace prevention strategies following the precautionary principle.
Labelling is a central regulatory tool for risk governance. It aims at meeting a number of goals: It should enable consumers to make informed purchase decisions, avoid consumers being misled and promote innovation. Hence, consumers take part in the risk management of different product groups. Labelling of nanotechnology products has been part of the early discussion on nanotechnology regulation, both at national and EU level. Member states have refrained from independent national initiatives. However, nano-specific labelling obligations have been adopted in European law for cosmetics, food and biocidal products. In contrast, international initiatives for voluntary labelling have not succeeded on the market.
Over the past few years, touchscreens have become ubiquitous in the world of mobile electronic devices. A next generation of touch sensing devices will be vastly more advanced and lead to ultrasensitive artificial skins. Another, novel model for advanced man-machine interactive systems could be based on moisture detectors. Here, actual touch is no longer necessary for a positioning interface to react; rather, the distribution of water molecules that exists around all humid surfaces, such as a human finger, would be sufficient to trigger a response. Researchers in China have now demonstrate such a flexible touchless positioning interface based on the spatial mapping of moisture distribution.