Nifty: the bane of caffeine-craving bookworms everywhere — those round, brown and ugly coffee stains — could actually prove the inspiration for cutting-edge television screen technology.
New Scientist reports this week that Ivan Vakarelski, an engineer in Singapore, envisions the mechanism that creates coffee stains as a way to more easily and cost-effectively create transparent, conductive coatings on LCDs and plasma TVs.
The logic goes like this: coffee stains form as the liquid evaporates and pushes coffee particles outward into a typical ring formation. By extension, other liquids with the proper convection and evaporation rates could be used to deposit thin granular patterns on LCDs and plasma screens.
Vakarelski’s team reports success with a suspension of nano-sized gold particles which, when combined with the right surfactants and a temperature of 4 degrees C, yielded an ultra-fine and conductive network of gold. The gold coating could even outperform the standard indium tin oxide layers now used for LCDs and TV screens, Vakarelski says.