This rare metal could be eliminated from cell phone screens in the near future

This rare metal could be eliminated from cell phone screens in the near future

The new technology demonstrates graphene’s potential to serve as a viable replacement. Graphene is made from carbon atoms alone and can be sustainably produced, whereas indium’s comparative scarcity makes it more expensive and unsustainable. Until now, graphene has had big expectations but hasn’t been able to have them fully realized. “Because of its importance and scarcity there have been many attempts to replace ITO, but no material has been found to have a comparable performance in an electronic or optical device until now,” said Professor Colin Humphreys of Queen Mary and Paragraf.

In the journal Advanced Optical Materials, researchers from Paragraf and Queen Mary University of London presented a fresh study on the prospective replacement. The researchers succeeded in fabricating an Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) with a mono-layer graphene anode instead of the usual indium tin oxide (ITO) anode. Indium is a rare earth metal and one of the nine rarest elements in the Earth’s crust, making it a key raw material for the European Union. OLED technology is now used in many smartphones and television displays, but indium is also found in a wide range of other consumer gadgets.

“Our paper is the first paper in the world to demonstrate that graphene can replace ITO in an electronic/optical device. We have shown that a graphene-OLED has identical performance to an ITO-OLED. ITO-OLEDs are widely used as the touch screens on our mobile phones,” continued Humphreys.

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