Future of phone displays: non-reflective, antimicrobial, made with Corning
We've heard that Corning, the maker of Gorilla Glass that protects your smartphone or tablet display, is cooking up something in terms of anti-reflection and anti-microbial abilities, and for the first time the firm gave it some pep talk in public at the MIT Mobile Technology Summit.
Dr. Jeffrey Evenson, senior vice president and operations chief of staff for Corning took the stage and gave the usual demos we've seen before like a four-pound steel ball dropping on a 1mm sheet of Gorilla Glass with the proverbial trampoline effect.
Corning reiterated some of the main advantages of its glass technology in the bullet points below:
- Glass can withstand an astonishing amount of pressure. Imagine, for example, a scale that measures the pressure under an elephant’s foot. Glass can theoretically tolerate the pressure of 10,000 elephants stacked on top of that scale – a strength of 10 gigapascals.
- A sheet of glass is so stable that it would take 20 trillion times the age of the earth to create a visible sag in the thickness of a glass window. This dimensional stability is critical to manufacturers of high-performance devices.
- You want to talk transparency? The glass used for optical fiber – which forms the backbone of the Internet – is 30 times more transparent than the purest water, and only about 1 percent less transmissive of light than air on a clear day.
- As for being impermeable – consider the difference between plastic and glass covers on electronics. A molecule of oxygen could pass through a piece of 1-millimeter-thick plastic in about two weeks. That same trip would take 30 billion years through the same thickness of glass. That makes glass “an ideal enclosure for advanced display technologies such as OLEDs, which decay rapidly if exposed to oxygen or water,” said Mr Evenson
Now for the new anti-reflection tech. The sunlight visibility of your phone or tablet, which is pretty weak on almost all mobile devices, is a function of two parameters - peak screen brightness, but almost as important are mirror reflections or the screen reflectivity ratio in general. The best panels barely go below 5% reflectivity, which is still a lot, but Corning is apparently working on bringing that down to a percent larger than thin air, as you can see in the quote above.
During the MIT Mobile Summit presentation, it showed the slide below, which at first look depicts a hole in a normal cover glass, except that it's not a hole, but rather a circle of glass treated with the new anti-reflection tech. Very promising, and we can't wait to see the effect this will have on our smartphones outside, equipped with the next-gen Corning glass.
The circle in the middle is treated with Corning's new anti-reflection tech
Not only that, but the germophobes of this world will rejoice when they hear that the company is also incorporating antimicrobial tech that is supposed to kill germs and viruses that can stick to your phone screen and get transferred to you or someone else using it. Even after half an hour, measurements showed that the treatment killed a bunch of invisible critters that are lounging on the glass at any given time, compared to regular displays, and in two hours all bacteria or viruses that could cause harm, were dead and buried.
In two hours time, the antimicrobial coating from Corning has assassinated harmful bacteria and viruses lurking on your phone or tablet display
Fascinating stuff, and the video is worth watching in its entirety over at the MIT Mobile Summit, despite that there was no word when will Corning start rolling these new sheets to phone and tablet makers except the vague "in the next two years". In any case, these new technologies are getting us one step closer to the utopian glass-laden future in the dreamy video below.
Things that are NOT allowed: