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Shatterproof Smartphone Screens Soon

University of Akron polymer scientists have developed a transparent electrode that could make smartphone displays shatterproof.

smartphone by Thom Weerd

A smartphone screen that resists ‘scotch tape peeling and bending tests’ sounds good.

But can it cope with repeated stomping underfoot, as the collective temper of the mob finally snaps in white-hot anger, having been repeatedly bumped, wrong-footed, forced to dodge and weave by its user’s zomboid inattentive, face-down shuffle, and expected to endure the tinny wheeze of brickwalled bro-step from its piffling little excuse for a speaker?

Asking for a friend.


University of Akron polymer scientists have developed a transparent electrode that could change the face of smartphones, literally, by making their displays shatterproof.smartphone by Thom Weerd

In a recently published scientific paper, researchers 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. This could revolutionize and replace conventional touchscreens, according to Yu Zhu, UA assistant professor of polymer science. Currently used coatings made of indium tin oxide (ITO) are more brittle, most likely to shatter, and increasingly costly to manufacture.

“These two pronounced factors drive the need to substitute ITO with a cost-effective and flexible conductive transparent film,” Zhu says, 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.

“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“.

Source: University of Akron
Photo: Thom Weerd

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