Smartphone displays may become tougher thanks to film coating developments

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Not everyone has had to deal with the stomach-dropping realisation that their smartphone is headed towards the floor at speed and that the display probably won’t survive the fall but those that have have likely lamented the brittle displays that keep us connected to modern life. That could be on its way to changing though, with tougher, more durable screens being a possibility thanks to recent developments by scientists at the University of Akron in Ohio.

The researchers there have come up with a new film treatment that will allow manufacturers to replace existing ITO (indium tin oxide) screen coatings, which allow smartphone displays to conduct electricity and function as touchscreens. ITO-coated screens are known to be brittle and the process required to make the film is getting more expensive of late.

The new idea involves creating a display from a series of electrodes implanted in a polymer layer, something that the University of Akron has been working on. The result is a conductive film that is just as transparent as existing ITO options while offering improved conductivity. It’s also more durable, suffering through various stress tests while still retaining its working properties and shape.

Dr. Zu Yhu, who is one of the minds working on the project, said “We expect this film to emerge on the market as a true ITO competitor. The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all with this flexible touchscreen.”

Of course, we’ll have to wait until we see this in practise to be sure but expect to see more than a few in-house stress tests whenever this magical stuff reaches the consumer market.

Source: Digital Trends

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