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Imagine sitting out in the sun, reading a digital screen as thin as paper, but seeing the same image quality as if you were indoors. Thanks to research from Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, it could soon be a reality. A new type of reflective screen — sometimes described as ‘electronic paper’ — offers optimal color display, while using ambient light to keep energy consumption to a minimum. Traditional digital screens use a backlight to illuminate the text or images displayed upon them. This is fine indoors, but we’ve all experienced the difficulties of viewing such screens in bright sunshine. Reflective screens, however, attempt to use the ambient light, mimicking the way our eyes respond to natural paper. “For reflective screens to compete with the energy-intensive digital screens that we use today, images and colors must be reproduced with the same high quality. That will be the real breakthrough. Our research now shows how the technology can be optimized, making it attractive for commercial use,” says Marika Gugole, Doctoral Student at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers University of Technology.

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