Researchers at Exeter have devised a graphene composite (GraphExeter) that is highly conducting, and now they demonstrate the first prototype of the material in an electroluminescent device, showing its feasibility for luminescent textiles and flexible displays.

The high conductivity of GraphExeter can introduce many improvements to flexible displays. Large screens using existing materials fade to a darker region in the middle due to the sheet resistance. This places a practical limitation in the range of square centimetres on how large the screen can be. The extremely low sheet resistance of GraphExeter - less than 8Ω/□ compared with 1000Ω/□ for pristine single layer graphene and 850Ω/□ for the more commonly used PEDOT/PSS – means that screens several square metres in size are feasible.

Such a high-performing, flexible display could be useful for foldable displays, lighting systems with expandable screens for smart phones, wallpaper lights and optoelectronic textiles. In particular, the researchers suggest how useful the material could be as a biocompatible light source for medical treatments such as clothing for premature babies. With GraphExeter, a UV source directed towards the skin can be integrated into the fabric, so the eyes are safe from harmful radiation without the need for goggles.

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