The next generation of computer and television screens could be built using carbon nanotubes. Nextweek a prototype high-definition 10-centimetre flat screen made using this technology will be launched in Boston at the Soaety 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

LED was created by Nichia of Japan.

With the three primaly colours now available, this opened the way to full-colour displays, solid-state white light, as well as blue lasers writing to high-capacity recordable DVDs. The market for all types of LED is estimated to be worth $6 billion a year.

In 1999, however, Nichia employee Shuji Nakamura suddenly quit the company, after long claiming he had single-handedly invented the blue LED. Nakamura, who is now a 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 &00, the company claims.

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