Changing the world

Everyday communication is changing rapidly. Thanks to UNSW research, one day you may be able to pick up an e-newspaper or see animations on your cereal box. In the 2010 edition of Research@UNSW we hear about this and other work that is changing the world.

Francois Martina inside

Everyday communication is changing rapidly. Thanks to UNSW research, one day you may be able to pick up an e-newspaper or see animations on your cereal box. In the 2010 edition of Research@UNSW we hear about this and other work that is changing the world.

Associate Professor Francois Ladouçeur, Head of the Photonics and Optical Communications Group and Associate Professor Martina Stenzel, from the School of Chemical Sciences and Engineering, are developing a new generation of electronic paper or "e-paper" that is cheap, flexible and perhaps even disposable.

"This new breed of electronic display will be so flexible you can wrap it around things," says Ladouçeur. "The winning technology is not yet available, but there is a whole industry out there waiting for the breakthrough."

Ladouçeur and Stenzel are hoping their approach of utilising photonics and self-assembling polymer nanotechnology will give them the edge.

The work has attracted the interest of UK company Plastic Logic which is a leader in the field of non-silicon, plastic-based electronics.

"Because the self-organising ability of the polymer eliminates the need for the expensive lithographic processing used in silicon-based displays, the process also promises significant reductions in costs," Ladouçer says.

"We've improved the technology and are now working on new ways of controlling the pixels themselves."

For more on innovative UNSW research, read Research@UNSW.

Research@UNSW 2010-2011 is a showcase for the breadth and depth of the University's research achievements and is published by the Research Office.