Electronic Design

Everybody Loves NED, But They'll Have To Wait

Motorola's newly unveiled NanoEmissive Display (NED) technology apparently has it all—high brightness, wide viewing angle, excellent color, and fast speed—wrapped up in a thin package that's scalable to large screen sizes. NED incorporates all the best qualities a flat-panel display can have, and it even uses nanotechnology! So what's not to like?

NED will require some effort before it actually gets to market. It's a type of field emission display (FED) that initially was based on multitudes of "Spindt tips," i.e., points made of refractory metal. These Spindt tips acted as electron guns, painting images for displays. But the Spindt-tip FEDs proved very hard to manufacture and too easy to damage, causing the technology to fall by the wayside by the late 1990s.

However, Motorola's NED has resurrected the FED by using carbon nanotubes (CNTs) instead of Spindt tips. The company's key innovation is a unique method for making a forest of CNTs. Typically, manufacturers have applied CNTs to glass surfaces by embedding them in a paste. Motorola grows the CNTs directly in a vertical configuration, which is more reliable than using paste.

Despite this innovation, Motorola will need help to bring the NED to full fruition. With no NED production facility, the company hopes to find an Asian manufacturing partner and contribute the NED intellectual property (IP) to the bargain.

To help secure a partner, Motorola has built a 6-in. prototype of its NED. Some additional optimization of this panel is still needed. Nonetheless, it shows a bright, clear image that can display video, proving the viability of Motorola's CNT growth method and the overall panel concept.

TAGS: Components
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