Carbon nanotubes used in computer and TV screens

Technology 18 May 2005

The next generation of computer and television screens could be built using carbon nanotubes. Next week a prototype high-definition 10-centimetre flat screen made using this technology will be launched in Boston at the Society for Information Display conference.

The new screen, called a nano-emissive display or NED, is made from two sheets of glass, one covered by a layer of nanotubes standing on end, the other by a layer of blue, red or green phosphors similar to those used in conventional cathode ray tube screens. When charged, the nanotubes direct electrons at the phosphors, making them light up. Because the electrons have only a short distance to travel, even a 105-centimetre NED would use relatively little power, says maker Motorola. A screen that size will also have a wide viewing angle and could sell for less than $400, the company claims.