Polymer for a Shatterproof Smartphone Touchscreen: Copper-based Flexible Display


Polymer scientists at University of Akron have developed an electrode, which is transparent in nature. Researchers aim to create shatterproof screens for smartphones with this newly fabricated layer of electrode.

It’s been quite some time now since, researchers were looking for alternatives to conventional indium-tin oxide, the ITO technology used for making the touchscreen. Brittleness is one of the major flaws with smartphone screens made up of ITO technology. Another equally important reason for looking at its alternative is its scarcity. Moreover, escalation of smartphone and tablet market is fueling the dearth further.

Hence, the researchers have come up with a cheap and affordable copper-nanowire-based transparent electrode solution. They envision that with this newly evolved touchscreen, the most frustrating problem of cracked smartphone screens would eventually be solved.

Copper-Nanowire-based Transparent Electrode Solution

Polymer researchers started with ornation a network of transparent metal nanowire with electrospun fibers as a mask on conductive metal films of copper.

On thin layers of copper metal, the polymer researchers patterned a web of transparent nanowire networks. The maze was created with the help of a process called electrospinning, in where electric charge are employed for fabricating micro level fibres from a liquid. Subsequently, by means of metal nanowires, they formulated transparent electrodes on substrates like rigid glass and polymer (polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Researchers have asserted that the evolved transparent sheet has a superior level of transmittance and resistance with respect to the ITO-based electrodes. By ‘transmittance’, they mean the ability and quantity of light passing through the material and ‘resistance’ implies the value resistance of electrical current that is being felt by the thin film.

Stiff Competition

Samsung developed similar kind of electrode solution but in case of copper, they had used graphene. Cambrios and Blue Nano too have come out with their electrode solution but their metal is Silver. This is for the first time, copper nanowire-based transparent electrodes have been created but if it goes out successful, it would have to take a tough fight from the already existing electrode solution.

Source: University of Akron

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