updated 02:45 pm EDT, Wed July 18, 2007
Photonic crystal displays
A new technology may lead to the replacement of conventional LCDs in many areas, research suggests. Scientists at the University of California have created a new fluid filled with iron oxide particles, each approximately 100 nanometers wide and coated in a plastic polymer. The signficance is that when exposed to a magnetic field, the particles arrange themselves into a pattern known as a photonic crystal -- so called because gaps between the particles are just wide enough for the wavelengths of light.
To change colors, a practical display would vary the intensity of tiny magnets to only allow certain colors through. The UC scientists believe that the advantage of photonic crystals is brightness -- whereas LCDs are often difficult to view in daylight, the reflectiveness of PCDs actually aids their visibility. Possible applications include everything from monitors to posters, since displays should be flexible enough to create e-paper. [via New Scientist]