Now I’ve heard everything… a spray-on that can be applied to hard glass or flexible plastic to make it vivid with color. I’m not sure how it works, I’m not even sure if it works but I’m fascinated by the possibilities!
A new spray-on polymer could lead to the development of e-readers that display not in black and white, but in every color of the rainbow. When combined with solar technology, the new treatment could power portable electronics and even homes and businesses.
Developed by scientists at the University of Florida, the new spray-on polymers can reflect or transmit any color of light. With a simple spray, they can be applied to hard glass or flexible plastic.
“When you look at simple LCD displays or a Kindle with its electrophoretic display, you are looking at something that changes from white and non-colored to black,” said John Reynolds, a scientist at the University of Florida who led a team that developed the clear-to-black polymers.
“That’s what this newest paper is about, but we’ve also developed polymer coatings for all the other colors of the spectrum,” he added.
Most e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook, don’t produce their own light. That is why, like a paper book, you can’t read them in the dark. These devices instead reflect light from the sun and other light sources.
These screens have been around for a while now and work well for small, portable devices like e-readers.
For larger areas, like roadside billboards or glass windows, where flexible materials like thin plastic might be used, the existing technology is not practical. What Reynolds and his colleagues, including Andrew Rinzler, also at the University of Florida and the company nRadiance, wanted to develop was a spray-on technique that would allow much larger displays.
The clear-to-black polymer is only the latest in a series of color-changing polymers developed by the Reynolds group.