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Scientists Develop Light-Emitting Paper That Might Shape Future Of Bendable Electronics

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Researchers from the Sichuan University in China have developed a flexible and transparent paper capable of emitting light, according to reports.

Experts now believe this new technology could hold the secret behind the production of bendable electronics.

Materials scientists Fei Song and Yu-Zhong Wang led a team of researchers in creating the light-emitting paper. They used an environment-friendly method called suction-filtration in order to mix wood flour with biocompatible quantum dots. These are nano-sized semiconducting crystals formed from the combination of selenium and zinc.

The result is a clear photoluminescent nanocellulose paper that glows at room temperature and can be folded and rolled without cracking.

"This material can bring a new thinking on future electronic displays and 3D printing papers," the researchers wrote in their study.

The developers of the light-emitting paper hope that the results of their study can help convince manufacturers to switch to greener electronics in producing smartphones, tablets and other gadgets.

Current processes still involve the use of petroleum-based plastics that are rigid and highly toxic to the environment.

The light-emitting paper, however, is yet to be made available for mass production.

The introduction of the photoluminescent nanocellulose paper is considered another step in developing new age electronics following the Bluetooth keyboard by UK-based company Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) and the Tray Typer by fast food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC).

In 2013, CSR came out with what they call "the world's thinnest wireless keyboard." The 0.5 millimeter (0.02 inch) thick device makes use of the company's low-power wireless technology with the latest printable, flexible electronics and touch screen sensing.

The lightweight keyboard can be used together with mobile devices similar to other portable wireless accessories.

KFC's Tray Typer, on the other hand, is marketed as an interactive way to eliminate dependency on the fast food chain's paper towel supply by letting customers type on a keyboard compatible with their smartphones and tablets without getting grease all over their device. It is only 4 millimeters (0.16 inch) thick and can be folded over and over again without damaging.

Just like CSR's wireless keyboard, the Tray Typer is also made of lightweight materials and powered by Bluetooth technology. It can be recharged using a USB port.

The Sichuan University study is published in the journal Applied Materials and Interfaces.

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