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Photonic-crystal full-colour displays


In our information-rich world, it is becoming increasingly important to develop technologies capable of displaying dynamic and changeable data, for reasons ranging from value-added advertising to environmental sustainability. There is an intense drive at the moment towards paper-like displays, devices having a high reflectivity and contrast to provide viewability in a variety of environments, particularly in sunlight where emissive or backlit devices perform very poorly. The list of possible technologies is extensive, including electrophoretic, cholesteric liquid crystalline, electrochromic, electrodewetting, interferometric and more. Despite tremendous advances, the key drawback of all these existing display options relates to colour. As soon as an RGB (red, green and blue) colour filter or spatially modulated colour scheme is implemented, substantial light losses are inevitable even if the intrinsic reflectivity of the material is very good.

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Figure 1: Fabrication and mechanochromic behaviour of thin-film electroactive PCs.
Figure 2: Constructing a PC electrochemical cell.
Figure 3: Electromechanochromic behaviour of silica–PFS PC thin films.
Figure 4: Images of P-Ink pixel arrays.


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A.C.A. would like to thank the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for a CGS scholarship. I.M. thanks the European Union for a Marie Curie Chair, the Royal Society for a Wolfson Research Merit Award (2005), and the Canadian Government for a Canada Research Chair. G.A.O. thanks the Government of Canada for a Research Chair in Materials Chemistry. The authors would like to thank G. Masson and D. Rider for help with polymer synthesis, and V. Kitaev for providing monodisperse microspheres. The authors would like to thank Materials and Manufacturing Ontario (MMO), NSERC, the Government of Canada and the University of Toronto for generous funding.

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A.C.A. and G.A.O. conceived the experiments; D.P.P. and A.C.A. performed the experiments; A.C.A., D.P.P., G.A.O. and I.M. analysed the experimental results; A.C.A. wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to André C. Arsenault, Ian Manners or Geoffrey A. Ozin.

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Competing interests

Since submission of this paper, the described technology is being developed by Opalux, a spin-off company based on research begun at the University of Toronto.

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Arsenault, A., Puzzo, D., Manners, I. et al. Photonic-crystal full-colour displays. Nature Photon 1, 468–472 (2007).

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