An optoelectronic framework enabled by low-dimensional phase-change films.
Wright, C. David
Nature Publishing Group
The development of materials whose refractive index can be optically transformed as desired, such as chalcogenide-based phase-change materials, has revolutionized the media and data storage industries by providing inexpensive, high-speed, portable and reliable platforms able to store vast quantities of data. Phase-change materials switch between two solid states--amorphous and crystalline--in response to a stimulus, such as heat, with an associated change in the physical properties of the material, including optical absorption, electrical conductance and Young's modulus. The initial applications of these materials (particularly the germanium antimony tellurium alloy Ge2Sb2Te5) exploited the reversible change in their optical properties in rewritable optical data storage technologies. More recently, the change in their electrical conductivity has also been extensively studied in the development of non-volatile phase-change memories. Here we show that by combining the optical and electronic property modulation of such materials, display and data visualization applications that go beyond data storage can be created. Using extremely thin phase-change materials and transparent conductors, we demonstrate electrically induced stable colour changes in both reflective and semi-transparent modes. Further, we show how a pixelated approach can be used in displays on both rigid and flexible films. This optoelectronic framework using low-dimensional phase-change materials has many likely applications, such as ultrafast, entirely solid-state displays with nanometre-scale pixels, semi-transparent 'smart' glasses, 'smart' contact lenses and artificial retina devices.
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
OUP John Fell Fund
Accepted author version. The definitive version was published in: Nature 511, 206–211 (10 July 2014) doi:10.1038/nature13487
Vol. 511, pp. 206 - 211
Place of publication