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SCIENCE / TECHNOLOGY : Researchers Hope Chips and Chemical Dyes Add Up to Flat-Screen Color TV

February 09, 1988|David Olmos, Times Staff Writer

By studying the effects that chemical dyes have on computer chips, UC Irvine researchers hope to develop technology that may someday help bring flat-screen color televisions into the home.

The research--a joint effort of UC Irvine and Ford Aerospace and Communications--is still in its early stages. But, according to John C. Hemminger, a UCI chemistry professor, "down the road it could have some major impact on various real world products."

UCI researchers have found that when a combination of chemical dye and ultraviolet light is applied to the surface of a semiconductor, color images appear on the computer chip. Hemminger said different dyes may be able to produce a range of color images on a chip. The process has potential applications for flat-screen devices such as TVs or computer screens.

The technology used to produce black-and-white images on a flat-screen TV is not applicable to color images, Hemminger said.

Like flat-screen black-and-white TVs available now, a flat-screen color TV could be small and lightweight. Because it would require relatively low voltage to produce color images, power could be supplied by small batteries.

"The work we're doing is the first few steps in trying to understand the phenomenon that could be used to do this," Hemminger said. UCI's recently formed Institute for Surface and Interface Science is involved in the research. The institute coordinates research between various university science departments, such as chemistry, physics and engineering and seeks to establish closer ties between the university and the Orange County electronics and aerospace industries.

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