I call them “golixels” (a portmanteau of “gold pixels”) and that’s what they are: a new super small pixel technology using molecules of gold. This invention by Cambridge scientists is the strangest thing I found for today.
The green orb thing below that looks like a corporate logo is an illustration of how it works.
… a gold grain coated in an active polymer that switches color with electricity, sprayed onto a flexible reflective surface …
At the centre of the pixels developed by the Cambridge scientists is a tiny particle of gold a few billionths of a metre across. The grain sits on top of a reflective surface, trapping light in the gap in between. Surrounding each grain is a thin sticky coating which changes chemically when electrically switched, causing the pixel to change colour across the spectrum.
The team of scientists, from different disciplines including physics, chemistry and manufacturing, made the pixels by coating vats of golden grains with an active polymer called polyaniline and then spraying them onto flexible mirror-coated plastic, to dramatically drive down production cost.
The pixels are the smallest yet created, a million times smaller than typical smartphone pixels. They can be seen in bright sunlight and because they do not need constant power to keep their set colour, have an energy performance that make large areas feasible and sustainable. “We started by washing them over aluminized food packets, but then found aerosol spraying is faster,” said co-lead author Hyeon-Ho Jeong from Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory.
Can you imagine 1 million times better resolution than on a modern smart phone? The images might be so life-like that you will hear and smell them. 😉 Just kidding about that, but along that line of thinking, what if … there is a secret code of visual information, an optic nerve cell firing pattern that will reliably trick the human mind into believing it is smelling something?
With all the twists and turns in our evolution, I’d believe there could be such a synesthesia code. It will be a fun day for entertainment if such a thing is discovered.