Quite literally so, the face of smartphones is about to change. The problem of smartphone screens smashing on impact may be a thing of past times, courtesy: Polymer scientists at the University of Akron. In a recently published paper, the researchers demonstrated the revolutionary technique of applying a thin, transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface. The resultant product is extraordinarily tough and flexible, making it ideal for use as smartphone screens.
The quest to find the solution to brittle phone screens has been a major challenge for researchers and industry people alike. Although significant developments have been made for improving the durability and toughness of the phone (most notable being the Gorilla Glass), shatter-proof screen materials proved to be elusive. The main reason that may be the touch screen glass coating made of indium tin oxide (ITO). ITO is more brittle, more likely to shatter and more expensive to manufacture as compared to this polymer-based electrode screen.
The research conducted by Dr. Yu Zhu, assistant professor, UA graduate students Tianda He and Aozhen Xia, and Darrell Reneker, distinguished professor of polymer science at UA tested the polymer screen by bending it 1,000 times and subjected the screen to repeated scotch tape peeling. Amazingly, the screen retained its shape and functionality.
So a screen with better conductivity, excellent durability, lower cost and having the same transparency as traditional ones is set to replace and revolutionize smartphone screens.
Source: University of Akron Newsroom