Organic light-emitting diodes bring a whole new level of image quality, power consumption, and very thin profiles to displays. In addition, with the appropriate choice of a flexible substrate, paper-like flexible displays that are lightweight, robust, and conformable can be produced. This will make it possible to roll or fold the displays for portability or incorporate them in clothing as wearable displays. Plastic substrates are considered prospective materials due to their inherent flexibility and optical qualities. However, one of the major drawbacks of plastics is the large thermal expansion. The thermal expansion of the substrate has to be compatible with those of the layers deposited on it, otherwise these layers will become strained and crack during the thermal cycling involved in the display manufacture. One of the proposed solutions to reduce the thermal expansion of plastics without appreciable loss in transparency is to reinforce them with nanofibers. These nanofibers are already available in enormous quantities in nature, in the form of cellulose, with the caveat that they have to be extracted properly. Here we present the methodologies required to obtain the cellulose nanofibers and to produce optically transparent composites for use in flexible displays.
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