Squid skin technology produces vivid colour display

Researchers have created a breakthrough colour display technology that brings the quest to create artificial squid skin - a metamaterial that can 'see' colours and automatically blend into the background - a step closer.

IANS| Last Updated: Sep 17, 2014, 17:55 PM IST

New York: Researchers have created a breakthrough colour display technology that brings the quest to create artificial squid skin - a metamaterial that can 'see' colours and automatically blend into the background - a step closer.

The new full colour display technology uses aluminium nano-particles to create the vivid red, blue and green hues found in today's LCD televisions and monitors, say researchers from Rice University's Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP).

"Our goal is to learn from these amazing animals so that we could create new materials with the same kind of distributed light-sensing and processing abilities that they appear to have in their skins," said LANP director Naomi Halas.

Squids belong to the cephalopod group who have some of the same proteins in their skin that we have in our retinas.

"So part of our challenge, as engineers, is to build a material that can 'see' light the way their skin sees it. Another challenge is designing systems that can react and display vivid camouflage patterns," Halas noted.

The new colour display technology delivers bright red, blue and green hues from five-micron-square pixels. Each pixel containing several hundred aluminium nanorods.

By varying the length of the nanorods and the spacing between them, researchers showed they could create pixels that produced dozens of colours, including rich tones of red, green and blue that are comparable to those found in high-definition liquid crystal display (LCD) televisions.

The technology is described in a paper published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).