China has developed the world’s first graphene electronic paper that can possibly revolutionize the screen displays on electronic gadgets such as wearable devices and e-readers.
Developed by Guangzhou OED Technologies in partnership with another company in the Chongqing Province, the material is also the world’s lightest and strongest material in prevalence today. It’s 0.335 nanometers thick and can be used to create hard or flexible graphene displays.
Graphene e-paper comes with the capability to conduct both heat and electricity, and it can supposedly enhance optical displays to a brighter level, owing to its high-light transmittance properties.
What about cost? Since it’s derived from carbon, graphene-based e-papers can be easily produced cost-effectively. Traditional e-papers use indium metal for their display, which is very expensive and rare to source.
Discovered in 2004, graphene can be described as an extremely thin layer of pure carbon – a single, tightly packed layer of carbon atoms bonded together in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice.
Although the material is extremely light and thin, it is apparently 150 times stronger than the equivalent weight of steel. Further, similar to the rubber material, graphene is extremely stretchable and holds the capacity to stretch up to 120 percent of its own length.
Touchscreens that use graphene as conductors, if incorporated with plastic instead of glass, can make smartphones so thin they could be folded and then slipped into a pocket. With the material’s super strength, touchscreens can be shatter-proofed too.
The wait is still long, however, as the newly developed graphene e-paper will be put into production in a span of one year.