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Monday, October 17, 2005

Siemens Shows Working Paper-Thin Displays

German electronics firm Siemens is exhibiting paper-thin, flexible color screens which it promises will bring packaging, magazines, and advertising to life.

German electronics giant Siemens has exhibited paper-thin flexible display screens at the Plastics Electronics trade show in Frankfurt. Although displays still need to be refined and costs would make them impractical for consumer products today, Siemens anticipates they'll be available on the market by 2007.

The displays really aren't the stuff of science fiction or Harry Potter novels. According to an article on PhysOrg.com, the displays operate using electrochromic materials which absorb different wavelengths of light when electrical voltages shift charges in their molecules. The electrochromic material holds a pattern of electrodes, while a layer of transparent plastic services as the other electrode and a transparent window. Currently, the displays are programmed using silicon switching elements, but Siemens' goal is to get the manufacture of the entire display down to a printing process, including conductive plastics and control electronics. The displays can be powered by printable batteries, which are already available commercially, although with current technology the displays would have usable lives measured only in months.

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