Researchers at Queensland University of Science and Technology are now turning to an unusual field aftermedia reported that technology could use some of the more sustainable sources. The team showed that the hairshop’s human hair could be used to make OLED displays. The vast majority of the world’s broken hair from barbershops endups in landfills. So researchers at the University of Queensland decided to collect the waste materials from local barber shops and incorporate them into electronic devices.
Hair is a good source of carbon and nitrogen and is very helpful for the manufacture of luminescent particles. The hair is treated and burned at a temperature of 240 degrees C (464 degrees F), leaving behind a material embedded in carbon and nitrogen. The team then turned the material into carbon nanopoints less than 10 nanometers in diameter. The nanopoints are then dispersed through polymers, where they gather to form what the team calls “nanoislands.” It is these groups that can be used as active layers in OLED devices.
When a small voltage is applied, these nanopoints glow blue. It’s not particularly bright, but the team says it should still be used for small-scale displays, such as wearables.
“Carbon-based organic light-emitting devices derived from human hair can be used in indoor applications such as smart packaging,” said Prashant Sonar, author of the study. “They can also be used in places where small light sources are needed, such as in signs or smart bands, and in medical devices because the material is non-toxic. “
In the future, animal hair and even wool from pet beauty salons could be used in similar devices, the team said.
The study was published in the journal Advanced Materials.