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    New Smartphone Polymer May Mean Shatterproof Screens
    By News Staff | June 6th 2014 09:03 PM | 1 comment | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    Conventional touchscreens often use coatings made of indium tin oxide (ITO) which are  brittle, may shatter and increasingly costly to manufacture but polymer scientists have developed a transparent electrode that could make displays shatterproof.

    In a recent paper, they demonstrated how a transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface could be extraordinarily tough and flexible, withstanding repeated scotch tape peeling and bending tests.  

    "These two pronounced factors drive the need to substitute ITO with a cost-effective and flexible conductive transparent film," says Yu Zhu, University of Akron assistant professor of polymer science, adding that the new film provides the same degree of transparency as ITO, yet offers greater conductivity. The novel film retains its shape and functionality after tests in which it has been bent 1,000 times. Due to its flexibility, the transparent electrode can be fabricated in economical, mass-quantity rolls.




    A transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface could be extraordinarily tough and flexible, withstanding repeated scotch tape peeling and bending tests, providing for a shatterproof smartphone touchscreen. Credit: The University of Akron

    "We expect this film to emerge on the market as a true ITO competitor," Zhu says. "The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all with this flexible touchscreen.



    Comments

    rholley
    For some years now, we’ve been worrying about running out of Indium because of its heavy usage in this sort of electronics.  It will be good if this forestalls that.

    Indium is one of the lowest melting metals (156.6°C) which is how I know it from lab work, as a temperature standard.

    But I first came across it in Dan Dare, where they discovered that it could protect a spaceship from the clouds that the Mekon was using to clog up the Solar System.  (Is that how to introduce a young person to science?)


    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England