Most smartphone fans are familiar with Corning’s Gorilla Glass, which receives special a treatment to help it resist taking damage. There are other specialty glasses we’ve heard about that sound like they’d be a good fit for smartphones, like the “invisible glass” with ultra-low reflectivity to help reduce the appearance of glare. The latest to catch our attention could have to potential to drastically reduce smudges and smears on our smartphone screens.
Similar to how Teflon helps keep things from sticking to your frying pan (though working on a different principle), researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have come up with a glass treatment that has comparable repulsive properties. The glass is first coated with very thin layer of soot sort of counter-intuitive for a process to increase visibility. That soot is then subjected to high temperatures, which alters the structure sufficiently to render its application transparent. Another coating of glass helps hold the modified soot in place.
When water or oil comes in contact with the treated glass, the nano-surface created by the soot repels either type of fluid (see image). Since fingerprints on our smartphone screens are caused by the oil in our skin, it stands to reason that a screen to which oil can’t adhere is going to end up basically fingerprint-free.
Right now, the biggest problem could be the tendency for this treatment to get scratched-off. What say we get we get these German scientists together with the folks from Corning and see if they cant come up with something both smudge- and scratch-resistant.