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Friday, 22 July 2011

Technique turns car windows into computer displays

The Engineer
July 21, 2011
Glasgow University researchers are helping to develop a technique that aims to turn car windows into computer displays and create more efficient smartphone screens.

The scientists are part of a Europe-wide project, also involving Fiat and glass maker Saint-Gobin, that aims to commercialise a method of creating three-dimensional nanostructures on the surface of glass to affect the brightness and direction of light.

This nano-imprinting lithography technique could help to create the next generation of ’head-up displays’ (HUDs) on the windshields of cars and aircraft — that emit their own light rather than using a projector — in order to display information to the driver.

It could also be used to develop windows that maximise the amount of light they let in and to create brighter LEDs and computer displays that use less energy.

‘The technology has never quite broken through in microchips because the number of defects is too high, but it’s an ideal application for optical properties such as light displacement,’ Glasgow’s Dr Nikolaj Gadegaard told The Engineer.

‘The defects won’t necessarily affect the way the light comes out. We’re working at around 100nm, so the eye won’t pick up defects at this scale.’
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