Electronic display from the University of Central Florida use less energy because it reflects light from the environment to display colors and images.


  • Reduced glare
  • Reduced energy use


  • Electronic devices

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

  • Goal 9: Industry Innovation & Infrastructure

The Challenge

Current display technologies rely on energy-intensive screens that are lit from behind. Prolonged exposure to these devices can cause eye strain, headaches, and other health issues.

Innovation Details

The electronic display reflects light from its surroundings to create a more natural looking, less energy-intensive screen. It mimics the technique used by butterflies to create color by scattering and reflecting light that hits microstructures on their wings. The technology is known as ‘plasmonic color display’ because the screen is made up of self-assembled plasmonics. Plasmonics are nanostructures that reflect different colors based on their size, shape and pattern. The plasmonics self-assemble at a quasi-random pattern on a pre-designed substrate that is optimized to show all the desired colors.

Biological Model

Many butterflies, such as the blue morpho, do not use to create the bright blue color on their wings. Rather than absorb and reflect certain light wavelengths as pigments and dyes do, their wings have layered microstructure that causes light waves that hits the surface of the wing to diffract and interfere with each other so that certain color wavelengths cancel out while others, such as blue, are intensified and reflected.