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Scientists get under the skin with next-gen display screens

posted 16 Mar 2012, 13:58 by Mpelembe   [ updated 16 Mar 2012, 13:59 ]

Scientists in South Korea and from the University of Notre Dame in the US say they have taken a major step toward producing miniature display screens than can be inserted beneath the skin. They say the development will allow body parts to be used as computer and telephone displays.

DNA origami is the binding of naturally occuring DNA strands into intricate shapes and structures than can serve as scaffold for complex nanomachinery.
Scientists at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, near Seoul have taken DNA origami and adapted it to create the basis for a miniature computer display designed for placement beneath the skin. They say they have developed a flexible, hyperfine, semiconductor by patterning DNA origami on chemically-modified graphene, a carbon-based substrate that can be safely placed into the human body.

"For the first time, we've succeeded patterning of DNA origami on graphene, on an electronically interesting substrate, which had been only practicable on plates without any substrates such as mica or silica," said Professor Kim Sang-ouk of Department of Materials Science and Engineering at KAIST, who led the study which also involved the University of Nore Dame.

The team says spatial patterning of DNA origami structures on the graphene can produce smaller DNA origami structures than any created so far. Currently, 20 nano-meter semiconductors are commercialized and widely in use in the optics and laser industries, but the researchers at KAIST say the new technology opens a pathway toward two nano-meter semiconductor.

"Our research possibly enables to create hyperfine nano-pattern under two nano-meter," said Kim.

The research team says a two nano-meter semiconductor would be the size of a postage stamp capable of storing the equivalent of 10,000 high-definition movies. They say

the chemically modified graphene is stable and mechanically flexible as well as transparent.

"Imagine that you insert a very thin and transparent display inside the back of your hand. Your hand looks normal in usual circumstances, but it can be turned into a display like you use I-pad or phone," said Kim.

Materials scientists and engineers are increasingly gearing technology towards ease of use and integration with every day, human activity. From cell phones to lap-top computers, the electronic devices now regarded as commonplace in society began their development in laboratories like this one. Kim Sang-ouk says he's very excited about what's on the horizon.