Transparent computer screens are the monitors of the future. We all have seen them in Sci-Fi movies, those transparent monitors that when are turned off look just like a regular piece of glass. Nowadays, the transparent computers are whatsoever something we think we really might be using in the close future. Given that engineers have already created an active matrix by using new technology of transparent transistors and circuits, being able to use transparent computers looks now more than ever much closer to reality.
Now that we know what a transparent monitor is, let’s see how they work and how is it possible to be transparent. Well, the new high-tech transistors are made of tiny wires, called nanowires. This type of transistors may be assembled on glass or thin films of flexible plastic and which are used to create the display containing OLEDs, or organic light emitting diodes. OLEDs are devices that are intended to be replacing the conventional pixels, about we all know they are used to create images on flat-panel television sets, computer monitors or other displays that consumer electronics are equipped with.
The way the active matrix works is not as complicated as it might seem at a first glance. The engineers actually used a similar technology to the one that is used on television sets or computer monitors. This matrix is however able to conduct electricity in order to produce video. This is possible because each pixel, or picture element, has its own control circuitry.
Although these futuristic monitors seem still far from being yet accessible to the consumer, scientists from the University of Southern California and Northwestern University are still carrying on research on this matter. Actually, DELL Company was the first to announce its transparent monitor to be released in 2008, but the product never came out on the market.
All in all, the new high technology developed to make the transparent monitors idea possible is the transparent computer screen filter and the OLEDs. Unlike the conventional liquid crystal that is commonly used in flat-panel monitors, OLEDs do not need a source of backlight. OLEDs are able to emit light directly and therefore may create more vivid displays. Every electronic piece of the transparent monitors is transparent until they are activated to emit light. The transistors used to create OLEDs are made of a transparent semiconductor material which is known as indium oxide. Indium oxide is considered to be the future replacement for silicon in transparent circuits. OLEDs have nearly the same brightness of the conventional pixels, of more than 300 candelas per square meter. Pixels have an average brightness of 400 to 500 candelas per square meter, referring to those available in liquid crystal monitors.
There are however two major disadvantages when it comes to OLEDs. The first is that they are quite difficult to be manufactured and also expensive, and the second is that OLEDs have a short lifetime.
Yet, important steps have been made in the research and development of the transparent computer screens but no such product is now available to be purchased maybe in the close future we all might be able to get such a device.