Sooner or later, every smartphone owner has to deal with a broken or cracked display. No matter how well you take care of your beloved device, it happens at some point. A somewhat unfortunate fall is enough to cover the display with the well-known spiderweb pattern. However, researchers at the University of Sussex have found a way to make smartphone displays not only harder, but also less energy hungry and flexible.
Wonder material graphene improves touch displays
The secret behind the new displays is a combination of graphene and silver nanowires. Normal smartphone displays get their touch functionality through a layer of indium tin oxide. This layer is particularly transparent and has high electrical conductivity, but the material is relatively rare, expensive and delicate. From time to silver is used as an alternative, which is not exactly cheap.
The team from Sussex found that the amount of silver needed can be drastically reduced if the material is combined with graphene. To make the screen, the researchers float a layer of graphene on the surface of water, pick it up with a rubber stamp, and press it onto a layer of silver nanowires. The technology sounds complicated, but according to the researchers, it can be scaled up well for industrial production.
Cheap flexible displays could be the future of smartphones
“The addition of graphene to the silver nanowire network thus increasing its ability to conduct electricity by a factor of ten thousand. The same, or better, performance. As a result screens wants to be more responsive and use less power, “ said Alan Dalton, who heads the team.
The use of graphene gives rise to other advantages than merely reducing the costs of producing the touch displays. The resulting layer can be bent as often as desired without changing the electrical properties. One day, such completely flexible displays could be developed that are extremely accurate in processing touch signals.