Inspiration often comes from the most unlikely source, and for Ivan Vakarelski, coffee stains may be the next big thing in TV coatings. He believes that the pattern formed by coffee when it dries, like that of a coffee ring on a napkin, will provide a superior coating for LCD and plasma screens than what today’s technology currently offers. The circular ring left by drying coffee is caused by the evaporating liquid in the coffee, with the coffee granules being arranged by varying rates of evaporation and convection.
Coffee isn’t quite conductive enough for a screen coating, so Vakarelski instead uses gold particles about 20 nanometers across along with latex balls to create a conductive coating suitable for LCD and plasma screens. The main benefit to the process that Vakarelski has created is cost; typical coatings are expensive, requiring clean rooms and vacuum chambers. While there has only been a coating created a few square centimeters large as of now, the process should be easy to scale in the future.