Solar cells and LED displays may get new life, thanks to researchers at King’s College London. The Biophysics and Nanotechnology Group can now separate colors and manipulate rainbows using nanoscale structures on a metal surface.
Using specifically designed nanostructures, researchers trapped different colored light in different positions on a nanostructured area. They could then use gold film to create a rainbow that was only a few micrometers – 100 times smaller than the width of a human hair.
Researchers are hoping to extrapolate this finding to improve light absorption efficiency to advance solar cell applications. The short version – this discovery may lead to wider viewing angles for all possible colors on screens and displays.
As all schoolchildren learn, in natural rainbows blue is always on the inner side and red is always on the outer side, but researchers are turning this lesson on its head. Now, they are able to manipulate rainbows to such a degree they can change where the colors appear, and they have also discovered how to completely separate the colors.
Researchers are hoping that this research will improve color sensitivity in infrared imaging systems for security and product control. Most likely, sensing applications will also employ this technology in their design and construction.
So why is this discovery revolutionary? Light capturing devices will be able to utilize the light coupling to nanostructures with multicolor characteristics to improve quality and efficiency. This will impact photo detectors, solar cells, and displays. Optical circuits for data and telecommunications can also employ the sensing and light manipulation technology. A brave new world indeed.