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The University of Akron - Shatter-proof screens that save smartphones

DCN Corp® - A transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface could be extraordinarily tough and flexible, providing for a shatter-proof smart phone touch screen. Credit - The University of Akron (UoA), Ohio, USAPolymer scientists at The University of Akron (UoA), Ohio, USA - have managed to develop a transparent electrode that could change the face of smart phones, by making their displays shatter-proof.

In a recent publication, the researchers demonstrated how a transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface could be extremely tough and flexible, by withstanding repetitive scotch tape peeling and bending tests.  Potentially this could revolutionise and replace conventional touch screens - as according Yu Zhu, UoA Assistant Professor of Polymer Science.  Currently coatings in the smart phones industry are made of Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) which are more brittle, and most likely to shatter, and, therefore, increasing the cost of manufacturing.

Novel and Cost-effective

Zhu adds - "these two pronounced factors drive the need to substitute ITO with a cost-effective and flexible conductive transparent film."  Plus, adding that the new film provides the same degree of transparency as ITO, but increased conductivity.  The novel film retains its shape and functionality after tests in which it has been bent at least 1,000 times.  Due to its flexibility, the transparent electrode can be fabricated in economical and mass-quantity rolls.

Zhu continues to state - "we expect this film to emerge on the market as a true ITO competitor," - and - "the annoying problem of cracked smart phone screens may be solved once and for all with this flexible touch screen." Original article available here

Please Note the findings are published in the American Chemical Society's (ACS) journal ACS Nano in a paper entitled: A Tough and High-performance transparent electrode from a Scalable and Transfer-free method. [1]

The research, above, continues to highlight the potential of nanotechnology in replacing conventional materials.  As stated previously, DCN Corp strongly believes it can contribute via its novel dip coating processes. Going forward, if you and/or your colleagues are interested in making DCN Corp's alternative process reality - please ensure to contact the company as soon as practicably possible.

[1] He, T., Xie, A., Reneker, D. H., Zhu and Y. A Tough and High-performance transparent electrode from a Scalable and Transfer-free method. ACS Nano 8, 5, 4782-4789 (2014)