Motorola has displayed a prototype for the future of computer screens which uses the company's own Carbon Nanotube (CNT) technology to produce higher-quality, longer-lasting flat displays at a lower price.

The five-inch prototype display was created by growing carbon nanotubes on a piece of glass in Motorola's labs, said Jim Jaskie, chief scientist at the company. The nanotubes are one nanometer (one billionth of a metre) wide and about one micron long, he said.

Motorola first announced the technology two years ago. It said it planned to produce high-quality displays that avoided a method used by other researchers of applying carbon nanotubes with a paste. The paste method produces a number of harmful particulates and does not allow manufacturers to arrange the nanotubes as precisely as Motorola's method, Jaskie said.

Nanotubes are an excellent material for delivering high-quality images to displays, according to Jaskie. Current high-definition displays based on CRT (cathode ray tube) technology are enormous, and those built using LCD technology are expensive and can be hard to see in a well-lit room or at an angle, Jaskie said. Both techniques are also fairly expensive, he said.

Displays built using Motorola's technique for growing nanotubes could result in 40-inch displays that cost only $400 to manufacture, the company said.

These displays will also be as thin as LCDs, yet viewable at different angles or in bright rooms, Jaskie said. Motorola's new prototype can display images at a resolution of 1280 pixels by 720 pixels, the minimum standard for high-definition televisions. The company hopes to develop a display that can produce images of 1,920 pixels by 1,080 pixels, a more advanced high-definition standard, he said.

Motorola is in discussions with several different display manufacturers interested in its technology, Jaskie said.