Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

LED fiber optic display films on the way

By

June 21, 2010

One of the Fraunhofer fiber optic films

One of the Fraunhofer fiber optic films

LEDs... is there anything they can’t do? Well yes, actually, there is. They can’t be something other than a point light source. That’s not ideal when it comes to flat – and increasingly thin – displays such as television and cell phone screens. How does one go about converting that three-dimensional point light source into a two-dimensional display, without losing much of its intensity? The answer could be found in a new machine that efficiently and inexpensively produces fiber optic film sheets.

The machine was designed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology in Germany. The plastic sheets it produces are 2x3 meters wide, yet the internal microstructures that distribute the light are mere micrometers in size.

The process starts by using specialized diamond tools to create a 2x2 millimeter-wide stamp, made from ultrathin nickel sheet. Then, like a dot matrix printer, that stamp is precisely guided as it treats the surface of the plastic sheet, populating it with the microstructures. It takes a few days for it to treat the entire surface, but this is far better than the weeks or even months required by previous methods.

After the sheet has been prepared, the machine can then test its optical structure. If changes are needed, they can be done on the spot. Once it’s up to snuff, the sheet is immersed in a nickel bath, and galvanized. From there, it can serve as the master for mass replication.

The researchers claim that the machine can produce fiber optic sheets for use in a wide variety of applications, including displays, architectural lighting, and automobile interior lighting.

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
Tags
2 Comments

I wonder how much it differs from current microlens-based diffusion tech like that of companies such as Global Lighting Technologies (www.glthome.com)?

Alix Paultre
22nd June, 2010 @ 09:42 am PDT

I wonder if this is not an overkill compared to the various other technologies. Global Lighting Lighting Technologies is one of the various technologies.

Jim Zarian
22nd June, 2010 @ 04:32 pm PDT
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 29,583 articles
Recent popular articles in Electronics
Product Comparisons