Improved long wearing contact lens displays with picture taking and scanning capabilities

Ulsan National Institute of Science & Technology (UNIST) has demonstrated that a live rabbit could wear contact lenses fitted with inorganic light-emitting diode with no side effects. This new class of hybrid transparent and stretchable electrode paves the way for flexible displays, solar cells, and electronics.

UNIST scientists have combined graphene with silver nanowires to form a thin, transparent and stretchable electrode which overcome the weaknesses of each individual material, resulting in a new class of electrodes with widespread possible applications including picture taking and scanning using soft contact lenses.

Transparent electrodes have been widely used in things like touch screens, flat-screen TVs, solar cells and light-emitting devices. Commonly made from indium tin oxide(ITO), it is brittle and cracks thus losing functionality if flexed. It also degrades over time, and is expensive due to the limited quantities of indium metal.

Nanoletters – High-Performance, Transparent, and Stretchable Electrodes Using Graphene–Metal Nanowire Hybrid Structures

The graphene-mNW hybrid structure developed by the UNIST research team is a new class of electrodes and may soon find use in a variety of other applications. The research team demonstrated Inorganic light-emitting diode (ILED) devices fitted on a soft eye contact lens using the transparent, stretchable interconnects of the hybrid electrodes as an application example.

As an in vivo study, this contact lens was worn by a live rabbit eye for five hours and no abnormal behavior, such as bloodshot eye or the rubbing of eye areas were observed in the live rabbit. Wearing eye contact lenses, picture-taking and scanning, is not science fiction anymore.

Note – there was work two years ago where a single pixel contact lens display was placed onto a live rabbit by University of Washington researchers.

ABSTRACT – Transparent electrodes that can remain electrically conductive and stable under large mechanical deformations are highly desirable for applications in flexible and wearable electronics. This paper describes a comprehensive study of the electrical, optical, and mechanical properties of hybrid nanostructures based on two-dimensional graphene and networks of one-dimensional metal nanowires, and their use as transparent and stretchable electrodes. Low sheet resistance (33 Ω/sq) with high transmittance (94% in visible range), robust stability against electric breakdown and oxidation, and superb flexibility (27% in bending strain) and stretchability (100% in tensile strain) are observed, and these multiple functionalities of the hybrid structures suggest a future promise for next generation electronics. The use of hybrid electrodes to fabricate oxide semiconductor transistors and single-pixel displays integrated on wearable soft contact lenses with in vivo tests are demonstrated.

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