Washington: Researchers have developed a transparent electrode that paves the way for shatterproof smartphone touchscreens.
Scientists from the University of Akron (UA) in the US have demonstrated that a transparent layer of electrodes on a polymer surface could be extraordinarily tough and flexible, withstanding repeated scotch tape peeling and bending tests.
This could revolutionise and replace conventional touchscreens, according to Yu Zhu, UA assistant professor of polymer science.
Currently used coatings made of indium tin oxide (ITO) are more brittle, most likely to shatter, and increasingly costly to manufacture.
"These two pronounced factors drive the need to substitute ITO with a cost-effective and flexible conductive transparent film," Zhu said, adding that the new film provides the same degree of transparency as ITO, yet offers greater conductivity.
The novel film retains its shape and functionality after tests in which it has been bent 1,000 times. Due to its flexibility, the transparent electrode can be fabricated in economical, mass-quantity rolls.
"We expect this film to emerge on the market as a true ITO competitor. The annoying problem of cracked smartphone screens may be solved once and for all with this flexible touchscreen," Zhu said.
The research was published in the American Chemical Society`s journal ACS Nano.