A display technology based on luminescent proteins may enable cost-effective, environmentally friendly manufacture of displays for computers, TVs, and mobile devices. The proteins can be used both for backlighting and for color filters, developers say.

Current display technology relies on liquid crystal displays (LCDs) which use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide high image quality and energy efficiency. These displays are costly and difficult to recycle.

Color filter made of bioluminescent proteins. Credit: Katharina WeberColor filter made of bioluminescent proteins. Credit: Katharina WeberA team of Spanish and German scientists at the University of Erlangen-Nurnberg created display technology based on bioluminescence. The proteins have a photoluminescence quantum yield of more than 75%, enhancing high efficiency. Their emission bandwidth (30 to 50 nm) assures high color quality, the developer say.

The new display uses proteins for backlighting, replacing the usual phosphorus display with a Bio-LED with white light with different colored proteins. Phosphorus is costly, so the switch may help reduce manufacturing costs.

The color filter is 3D-printed, with proteins stored in a polymeric matrix with micrometric resolution. The printing technique preserves luminescent properties and stability.

An additional advantage of the new screen technology, developers say, is its flexibility, which makes it attractive to use in lightweight flexible devices.

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