Physicists ‘score’ with beer-can idea

Wednesday 11 September 2002

The latest football scores appearing on beer cans at 4.45pm on a Saturday may not be too far- fetched, according to scientists developing the latest in display technology.

Physicists at the University of St Andrews, led by Professor Ifor Samuel, are developing groundbreaking new technology, which may lead to results being downloaded direct onto a display panel on a beer can.

Other potential uses for the curved display screens could be for demonstrating animated cooking instructions on food tins.

Professor Samuel, of the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy, has developed a new flexible, low-cost material which emits light when electricity is passed through it. The substance (classed as an organic semiconductor) consists of snowflake-shaped molecules called dendrimers.

The materials, which are synthesised by Dr Paul Burn at Oxford University, can be used in a variety of display applications from mobile phone displays to food packaging. They may also be used to light up rooms in different colours with light emitting wallpaper, and to illuminate clothing for use in sports or safety wear.

‘The advantage is that it is flat but flexible,’ said Samuel. ‘We can design materials with desirable properties, such as the ability to emit the three primary colours enabling us to make any colour on the spectrum.’

Professor Samuel and Dr Burn are collaborating with Opsys Ltd, an Oxford-based company which develops and commercialises novel light emitting technology for the next generation of information displays.

Opsys are in the early stages of developing commercial applications for the work.

Spokeswoman Catherine Hindle said: ‘In coming years consumers could have truly mobile information access including football scores downloaded to displays on cans of lager and animated recipes displayed on food packaging.’


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email [email protected] Ref: Ifor beer cans pr 120902 View the latest University news at

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