Copper coating paves way for shatterproof smartphone screens

1 min read

Shatterproof smartphone screens could soon be on the way thanks to researchers at the University of Akron.

A team led by Yu Zhu has created a copper nanowire coating which they say is just as transparent, more conductive and far tougher than indium tin oxide (ITO). While ITO is a good conductor of electricity and optically transparent, it's also extremely brittle and expensive to manufacture. "These two pronounced factors drive the need to substitute ITO with a cost effective and flexible conductive transparent film," said Zhu. "Our 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." The coating, comprised of a network of linked copper nanowires, can be deposited on either rigid glass or flexible polymer sheets. In tests, it has been shown to withstand repeated scotch tape peeling and bending tests, without degradation. "We expect this film to emerge on the market as a true ITO competitor," Zhu noted. "The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all."