The researchers could print inks containing these liquid crystals as dots onto nearly any surface.
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Laser-emitting materials can be put onto nearly any surface through inkjet printers, which could lead to more-lifelike video displays, as well as unusual applications such as digital wallpaper, scientists say.
The lasers are made using liquid crystals, the same materials found in LCDs (liquid crystal displays) now common in laptop displays, flat-screen televisions and digital watches. Liquid crystals are a broad class of what are known as self-organized materials, whose ingredients naturally assemble themselves into orderly structures.
"Many biological materials — for example, DNA, cellular walls, soaps — exhibit self-organization and could be described as liquid crystals," said researcher Damian Gardiner at the University of Cambridge in England.
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