For some applications, such as microprojection and augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), researchers continue to chase ever-smaller pixel sizes (nanopixels) and higher pixel densities. And these efforts eventually run up against some practical limitations, particularly on pixel brightness, that are imposed by the 2D-patterning approaches commonly used to create display pixels.
Now, researchers have proposed a novel 3D-printing approach to manufacturing pixels for display, that could allow much smaller, nanopixels to be crowded in at far higher densities than is possible with 2D-patterning methods. The approach rests on building up pixels vertically on free-standing nanopillars of a polymer that’s been spiked with luminescent nanoparticles, also known as quantum dots (QDs).
The 3D-printing process can produce 620-nm-wide pixels of pure color that are twice as bright as those made from 2D patterning. The method can lay down these nanoscale pixels at a “super-high density” some five times higher than limits of current commercial technology.