Technology Talk


NED is for Nanotube

spinning nanotubes

Recently, I speculated that every conceivable three letter acronym will someday be taken to name a new form of high-tech television display and it isn’t far from the truth. The number of three letter acronyms, especially those ending in “ed” are everywhere. NED is one of the newest—a nano emissive display. Motorola, at least a half-dozen Japanese companies and a nanotechnology company in Austin, TX have been involved in the laboratory creating a proof of concept model using carbon nanotubes.

processing nanotube technology

They first created a five inch video display that constituted a high-definition 42-inch, 1280 x 720 screen with a sixteen to nine ratio. The original panel was only slightly larger than three millimeters (roughly one-eighth of an inch) thick and used off the shelf CRT phosphor technology. It used the same inexpensive electronics in today’s LCD hi-def televisions and has many of the advantages of the cathode ray tube technology. (A wide viewing angle, broad temperature working variety, fast reaction time, etc.)

The prefix nano stands for 10 to the minus 9th power, or one-billionth of a meter. The term nanotech has been misused by many to denote anything incredibly small, but new devices in the realm of microns are not technically nanotechnology. There is and will continue to be a lot of attention put towards nanotechnology, but mature nanotech is still a decade or even two away, even though we are beginning to receive some of its benefits already.

The nanotube used in this video display is much like its name describes; carbon atoms are arrayed in a sheet that bends back on itself to form a cylindrically shaped tube. The nanotube is similar to the famous Buckyball, named after Buckminster Fuller, who invented the geodesic dome. The nanotube is an allotrope of carbon which just means an alternate crystalline form built of the same element. Other common examples are graphite which is pencil lead, and diamond, it’s all carbon, merely different forms.


One of the big advantages of NED-TV is the lack of “ghosting” images. Even the best LCD and Plasma televisions still have some fast motion artifacts. If the technologies still utilizing some form of the cathode ray tube technology persist and thrive, it will mean that the old CRT technology may never actually die, but live on in a new form. So far, prototypes of NED have been built using smaller sections to build up a 25-inch model and now a 42 inch HD display. The excellent brightness, deep color, very thin screen and lower power requirements indicate that NED is another promising hi-tech solution to better flat panel displays. Motorola announced last year that they could foresee a 40-inch NED display selling in the neighborhood of four-hundred dollars!

Pin It on Pinterest