Displays components consume the most power in electronic devices such as smartphones. Portable devices usually convert electricity into light to show images and videos, which spends much energy. Alternatively, reflective-type displays in e-book readers consume little power but cannot provide colourful images nor fast frame rates to reproduce videos. Standard technologies cannot meet the requirements for virtual reality (VR) applications: higher resolution displays with smaller pixels that can change their colour faster and with less power. GIMOD technology is the solution.
A Graphene Interferometric Modulator Display (GIMOD) is a reflective-type display (e-paper) whose pixels are mechanical micro-mirrors that tune the white light to show natural colours. The electrically-controlled pixels are semitransparent membranes that modulate the ambient light without using power to generate light while having great contrast in bright environments, thus cutting down the average power consumption in smartphones and VR visors. GIMOD pixels are also ultra-small, enabling the ultimate resolution in VR displays for a truly-real virtual experience.
Graphene is the thinnest and strongest material known, which makes it suitable for mechanical micro-devices. As graphene is also a great electrical conductor, it can be moved with small voltages. Graphene is semitransparent, allowing part of the light to go through. These properties make graphene the best material for mechanical pixels as successfully demonstrated with prototypes in the Mobile World Congress 2017.
GIMOD vs IMOD
IMOD technology was developed by Qualcomm MEMS under the Mirasol trademark and bought by Apple in 2015. Mirasol displays are present in products such as the smartwatch Qualcomm Toq. Mirasol pixels are made of silicon materials and metal surfaces, making them thick and heavy. In contrast, graphene pixels are so thin and weightless that enable high frame rates with low power consumption. The thickness also determines how small a pixel can be: GIMOD technology can go beyond 12K resolution! These attributes are exactly the missing requirements that portable VR visors lack of in the present.
SCALE Nanotech and Graphenea Semiconductor join forces to develop the innovative GIMOD technology in the European Union: Graphenea’s high-quality graphene material is integrated into GIMOD prototypes designed with SCALE’s know-how and hands-on R&D skills. Together we possess a strong network of scientific collaborators and industrial partners in Europe with some important contacts in USA, China and Japan, including a potential customer. Moreover, we foresee collaborations with the European Space Agency to implement our VR display component for educational and training purposes. GIMOD Project spins out from the European Commission’s Graphene Flagship and aims to generate a social return by bringing this European technology to the global market in 1-2 years.