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Smartphone screens may soon be completely shatter-proof

Sure, the screen on your smartphone is likely scratch-resistant, but it still won’t survive a drop to the sidewalk. However, that could all change if University of Akron scientists get their shatterproof touchscreen film into shipping hardware. They’ve developed transparent electrodes that, when layered on polymer surfaces, are just as transparent as current technology but much more durable. You can bend them over 1,000 times without breaking, and they also hold up against peeling. More importantly, the technology is cheap. In fact, the university believes that it should be less expensive to make this film than the touchscreen tech in use today; you can simply mass-produce it in rolls.

Scientists have developed a new shatterproof smartphone screen that could end the cracking/shattering of smartphone displays including the iPhone. University of Akron polymer scientists have discovered that by adding a fully transparent layer of electrodes to a polymer surface will result in a more durable and flexible surface. This could revolutionize and replace the conventional touchscreens that we see on most smartphones today. Currently the smartphones on the market use coating of indium tin oxide (ITO) and are more brittle and more likely to shatter.“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.

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