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Human hair used to make flexible displays for smart devices

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QUT researchers have teamed up with a Brisbane barbershop in ground-breaking research to turn human hair waste into flexible displays that could be used in future smart devices.


Associate Professor Prashant Sonar, Professor Ken (Kostya) Ostrikov and the research team, including PhD student Amandeep Singh Pannu, and in collaboration with Professor Qin Li of Griffith University, have developed a method of turning the small hair strands into carbon nanodots, which are tiny, uniform dots that are one-millionth of a millimetre. The researchers sourced the hair scraps from the Ben Scissorhands barbershop at Kelvin Grove, with barber Benjamin Mir happy to support the research project.

To produce the carbon nanodots, the researchers developed a two-step process that involved breaking down the hairs and then burning them at 240 degrees Celcius.

Professor Sonar and Professor Ostrikov, who are chief investigators with the QUT Centre for Materials Science, said the research published in the journal Advanced Materials was the first example of human hair waste being turned into highly luminescent carbon nanomaterial from which flexible light-emitting devices were fabricated.

The processed nanodots were uniformly dispersed in a polymer and then allowed to self-assemble to form “nano-islands”, or small groupings of the nanodots. The formation of islands preserves the emission from a material in the solid state which is essentially needed for incorporating any nanomaterial into a device.

These nano-islands were used as an active layer in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) devices.


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The device lit up with a blue colour when a modest voltage, approximately equal to two or three pencil batteries, was applied to the device.

“Waste is a big problem,” Professor Sonar said.

“Human hair derived carbon dot-based organic light-emitting devices could be used for some indoor applications such as smart packaging.

“They could also be used where a small light source is required such as in signs or in smart bands and could be used in medical devices because of the non-toxicity of the material.”


 
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See i always knew there was a reason real humans don't shave and go all natural.
 
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So basically any carbon source can be used.
Crematoriums might have another source of income soon.
 
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