Electroluminescent displays made safe for human skin

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY SCIENCE) — It is possible that in the near future we will check who is calling, or, for example, study the list of necessary purchases, simply by looking at the glowing display on the back of our hands.

Such solutions, which researchers classify as human-machine interfaces , are no longer science fiction.

Engineers, material scientists and experts in the field of flexible electronics has developed stretch emitting devices called electroluminescent displays an AC (alternating-current electroluminescent, ACEL).

They can be attached to the skin. However, to achieve sufficient brightness, such displays require a relatively high voltage, which is unsafe for the potential user.

This problem was solved by researchers from Nanjing University in China. They created a tensile light-emitting device that works even when the voltage is low.

Between two flexible electrodes of silver nanowires, researchers placed an electroluminescent layer consisting of light-emitting microparticles distributed in a stretchable dielectric material.

The latter is a flexible polymer with embedded ceramic nanoparticles. Thanks to this material, the new device surpassed all existing ACEL displays in brightness.

As a demonstration of the possibilities, the Celestial team created a stopwatch with a four-digit display, which was then placed on the volunteer’s hand.

Tests showed that at low, and therefore safe for the user, the elastic display emitted quite bright light: the numbers could be seen even in a well-lit room.

The authors are confident that their development will find wide application in smart wearable devices, soft robotics and human-machine interfaces of the future.

Chinese scientists reported on the work done in an article presented in the journal ACS Materials Letters.

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