Waterproof, glare-free phone screens invented (Wired UK)


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The two greatest enemies of outdoor smartphone users may be
vanquished in one fell swoop by material scientists who have
produced an anti-glare, hydrophobic glass screen.

Squinting at a movie by the pool or wiping splashed water from
the touchscreen (only to accidentally send that half-composed email
to the wrong person) could be minor annoyances consigned to the
history books thanks to the work of Valerio Pruneri and colleagues.
The team at The Institute for Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, in
conjunction with Corning Incorporated (the makers of the
tough Gorilla Glass adorning many of today’s premium smartphones)
developed a novel technique of “roughing” the glass surface without
sacrificing transparency.

The glass is essentially scratched at a nanomolecular scale to
diffuse light rather than reflecting a large majority of it back
towards the viewer, overwhelming the output of the display behind
it. In addition, the team etched 100nm “teeth” into the surface to
improve the diffusion, which also has the added effect of repelling
water as the textured surface resembles a lotus leaf.

This discovery has strong implications for the mobile industry,
where similar effects can only be produced by polarising filters
placed over the screen. But these filters can interfere with the
capacitive touch interface of many smart screens, a problem
Pruneri’s team believes may not be the case with their “roughening”
method. In the paper, published in Applied Materials & Interfaces, they suggest
that further research is required to determine if the surface would
withstand heavy usage as a touchscreen. However they also declared
the process to be inexpensive and scalable for mass production.

Here’s to the eradication of first world problems.

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Source: wired.co.uk
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