No matter what smartphone you buy, whether it’s premium or a mid-range, it has countless of camera features or not, there’s one threat looming on the horizon. The chance of dropping it and cracking your screen at least once is a given, even if you’re more than careful. That’s due to the fragile material used in touch-screen displays. But scientists from the University of Sussex have found the combo that could give screens a thicker skin #mobilemagic
Usually, the transparent, conductive indium tin oxide (ITO) film is used for most smartphones. As you can imagine, it’s not the best option there is; in fact, it’s highly fragile and made from a rare mineral that generates huge costs due to its scarcity. Until now, the most popular alternative for it was silver. A film coated with silver nanowires is more conductive than ITO, has low power consumption, low operating temperature and it’s highly compatible with most mobile devices.
Yet again, silver is not easy to come by, besides the fact that it’s also very expensive. So, researchers from the University of Sussex thought of a better combo: a mix of silver nanoparticles and graphene. They claim it’s more performant than the current options and cheaper, too.
By combining silver nanowire and graphene, the new approach promises to be cheaper, stronger and more sustainable than any current screen on the market. Graphite (the material graphene is made from) is easy t31o come about and while it does require silver to work, the metal is needed in lower quantities. It also increases conductivity so devices are more responsive, too.
“What’s exciting about what we’re doing is the way we put the graphene layer down. We float the graphene particles on the surface of water, then pick them up with a rubber stamp, a bit like a potato stamp, and lay it on top of the silver nanowire film in whatever pattern we like.”, explains Professor Dalton from the University of Sussex’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences.
The best part of it all? The technology is scalable, so mobile screens of all dimensions and shapes can benefit from it.