We’ve all experienced it, right? That terrible moment when you accidentally let the smartphone slip off your hands and watch it hitting the floor, cracking the screen. Then you either have to buy a new smartphone , or be careful so that the glass pieces doesn’t get into your fingertips while using your smartphone.
Well, for those who have met with such similar accidents, here is the good news. A team of researchers at the University of Akron claim they’ve a solution for such problems, so to speak, by designing an unbreakable smartphone screen from transparent electrodes.
As of now, the screens of your LCD, plasma TV and smartphones are coated with a clear, conductive substance called indium tin oxide, or ITO. ITO is very expensive and is in limited supply.. and easy to break. Scientists have been working to find an alternative for a long time and a team of researchers in Akron have successfully done it.
According to a study published in American Chemical Society’s journal ACS Nano, assistant professor of polymer science named Yu Zhu demonstrates how the team created a super-tough conductive screen. Instead of using ITO, the researchers designed a mesh of metal electrodes and sandwiched it to a layer of polymer. The end product was a super-tough screen that can stand brutal testing. Unlike ITO, this unbreakable screen is cheap to produce and isn’t in limited supply.
According to Zhu, his invention could replace a huge portion of the screens on the market.
“We expect this film to emerge on the market as a true ITO competitor,” he commented in a press release. “The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all with this flexible touchscreen.” Let’s hope iCracked has a backup plan—though, as always, we’ll believe this when we see it. [PhysOrg; University of Akron]