Could Nanopixels Completely Knock 4K and 8K out of the Water?

by on August 4, 2014

by Stephan Jukic – August 4th, 2014

If you thought ultra-clear 4K resolution and its slightly less impressive cousin Retina display were absolutely amazing, then you’ll be astonished by nanopixels.

Now, don’t go throwing your plans for buying that newly affordable 4K TV out the window just yet, what we’re talking about here is a highly experimental technology that’s many years away (if it’s even ever made to turn serious) and only being worked on in a couple of laboratories, but the promise it holds for the future of resolution could be quite honestly revolutionary.

Researchers working at Oxford University and the University of Exeter in England have recently developed experimental nanopixels. This is a potential new display technology that would increase screen resolution by as many as 150 times over anything available today, even 4K.

In essence, nanopixels are capable of much higher resolution gradients mainly because, as the name implies, the pixels themselves are just 300×300 nanometers in size. That alone is 150 times smaller than what you’d find in an ordinary Full HD TV and there’s still room for shrinking these incredibly tiny pixels down further still. To give you some perspective, we’re talking about pixels so tiny that they could be used to create clearly detailed images of complex objects within the width of an ordinary human hair!

If this incredible characteristic of the pixels isn’t impressive enough, there’s also the fact that nanopixels also deploy what is called phase-change technology. In basic terms, this means that the pixels themselves can activate or deactivate (appear or disappear from visibility) in between each screen refresh. Thus, many displays that use simple black and white colors, such as E-Ink reader screens could use nanopixels and save enormous amounts of power compared to normal LCD screens by reducing refreshes of certain pixels to only when their phases need to change.

Also, by virtue of their tiny size and thinness, nanopixels are highly flexible, thus making them useful for alternative display technologies such as folding screens, car windshields, smart glass of any kind and even artificial retinas or contact lenses in the human eye.

Experiments done in the labs at Oxford have already shown that images and visuals could be generated on sheets made of mylar and only 200 nanometers thick. This utterly beats any existing screen thinness on the market today.

Understand however that despite the above experimental advances, this technology is still on the drawing board and years away from any commercial applications.

While it’s been proven that the mechanism of nanopixels really works, numerous problems would be the case if anything that gives 150 times more resolution than HD and 40 times more resolution than 4K were attempted today. For one thing, the data processing needs of so much clarity would be enormous. Transmission issues would be an even bigger headache when it comes to broadband and other video or image transmission methods and finally, there’s the fact most graphics and computer processors are just barely being developed with enough power to handle 4K for fast-action screen content.

However, one day, if nanopixels become a feasible thing for our numerous display screens, we’d see resolution so clear that the human eye would not be able to see any pixilation whatsoever even on anything less than screens so big that they don’t even exist yet.


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