Darryl Smith knows how to make organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) more energy efficient than those available today. Current OLEDs have a transparent layer of electrically conductive material deposited on a substrate. Another layer of organic polymer, the one from which light is emitted, is deposited on the transparent layer. The third and final conducting layer is then deposited. Smith, a Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher, proved a method by which an intermediate chemical layer is applied between a conducting layer and the polymer layer of OLEDs, increasing the efficiency of current flow. He describes the single-molecule layer as a self-assembled polymer. The self-assembling layer has rows that line up in the same direction. Adding atoms at each end of the mono-molecule layer, the molecules "anchor" themselves to the conducting layer while maintaining polarity. The molecules' charged ends resemble the poles of a bar magnet. The thin layer shuttles electric charges between OLED's conducting and polymer layers. For more information, go to www.lanl.gov.
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
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