No more filthy smartphone screens with Corning’s new Gorilla Glass

July 3, 2013
Corning has demonstrated its latest glass technology at the MIT Mobile Summit. We can expect screens to be clearer and brighter in the near future, even under direct sunlight. An added benefit: they're actually anti-bacterial.

    That hole at the middle? That's actually still glass!

    Corning’s new generation (Gorilla Glass 4?) of thin and durable glass is expected to pack new features that may make Dragontrail and even the superbly durable sapphire glass appear inferior. This time, it’s not just a solution similar to oleophobic coating, Nokia’s ClearBlack display polarizer system, or Sony’s OptiContrast design. The new Gorilla Glass itself will have significantly lower reflectance compared to every other glass used to cover the displays of mobile devices.

    This anti-reflection technology was already hinted at by Corning’s director for marketing and commercial operations at the Computex expo in Taipei last June. Now, the company has a convincing demonstration of the kind of dramatic reflectance reduction its new glass will offer.

    At the MIT Mobile Technology Summit, Corning’s senior vice president and operations chief of staff, Dr. Jeffrey Evenson, presented the evident effect of the company’s new technology in reducing the reflectiveness of glass. He showed an image of a thin sheet of glass that appears to have a hole at its center. The hole, as Evenson revealed, turns out to be the portion coated by Corning’s new anti-reflection solution. There was actually no hole on the glass! It was an optical illusion that demonstrated the kind of technology that would seem to be the perfect solution to the visibility limitations of most displays outdoors, under bright sunlight.

    Every glass-covered device on the market suffers visibility problems under the sun. Even the devices touted to have the highest display brightness and contrast can’t adequately compensate for the reflectivity of the tempered glass used to cover them. With Corning’s new technology, the future of better outdoor display visibility looks assured.

    Going beyond clarity, here are a few highlights of Corning’s latest products:

    • The glass can withstand an enormous amount of pressure, at 10 gigapascals. That’s equivalent to the weight of 10,000 elephants stacked atop an area covering that same theoretical elephant’s foot.
    • Glass is essentially super-cooled liquid, so regular glass “flows” and “sags” after time. In contrast, Corning’s glass will take 20 trillion times the Earth’s age to show a visible sag.
    • Glass is impermeable, especially compared with plastic. Corning explained that a molecule of oxygen can pass through a one-millimiter thick piece of plastic in two weeks’ time. Its glass? About 30 billion years. Since water and oxygen are enemies of OLED and other advanced display technologies, Corning says its glass is the best enclosure for these displays.

    Not that you’re going to let an elephant dance atop your smartphone screens, but these only show how strong Corning’s glass is in terms of compressive stress. Now as for impact resistance and bending, that’s a different thing altogether.

    No more filthy touchscreens

    Even better, Corning also presented their antimicrobial solution to filthy mobile devices. The upcoming Gorilla Glass will come with a technology designed to minimize bacterial proliferation on mobile displays. Evenson showed a clip that compares bacterial presence between standard glass and the new Corning antimicrobial glass after two hours. A microscopic view of the two glass surfaces showed the apparent effectiveness of Corning’s antimicrobial solution. The company claims that their new glass offers more than 106 bacterial reduction potential.

    These new features, obviously, don’t mean any advantage for some other applications of durable glass like using it as roofing for benches or as windshields, where reflectance is deemed advantageous. These are meant for the glass used on the displays of mobile devices, as well as for televisions, desktop and laptop computer monitors, and the giant displays used in outdoor advertising. Also, reduced reflectance will benefit solar energy panels, a market that Corning also plans to exploit with its flexible solar power roofing glass.

    Corning claims that its durable glass is now used in approximately 1.5 billion devices. This 162-year-old company holds the biggest market share in the tempered glass market worldwide. The announcement of its new Gorilla Glass features is expected to solidify its dominance as the leading supplier for smartphone and tablet glass covers. Still, the company appears to have no intentions of slowing down on its offerings. It has also launched this month the Corning Willow Glass, a super-slim flexible glass that appears to be the perfect partner for LG’s or Samsung’s upcoming flexible displays.

    Comments

    • MasterMuffin

      Amazing. Just amazing!

    • Josh Flowers

      in reality, they cut out the center hole to depict the glass’s ability :)

    • IncCo

      Incredible, I need this in my next phone

      • fgrgdr

        the news item does not mention a particular phone.

        • fgrgdr

          which phone do you think will have it?

          • IncCo

            Well.. gorilla glass is pretty popular among a lot of the manufacturers, so samsung, htc, maybe lg even, we’ll see.

    • George Av

      COOL SHIT ME WANT ON S5 :D

    • Hoggles

      Nice!!

    • time

      More likely it will be on next Samsung Phone (y)

    • bungadudu

      Meanwhile my S4 has 3 big scratches although I’ve treated it like a baby.

      Here goes another 250$ for a screen..

      Gorilla Glass is the best!

      • Sean Bunquin

        Sand easily scratches glass, so if you didn’t put a screen protector, that’s to be expected

    • maine

      is it bulletproof now ?

    • hoggleboggle

      pretty incredible. Shame it will still shatter when dropped. Whilst that will always be a problem with a crystaline product like glass, there must be some way to allow impact forces to not cause cracks across the whole surface but restrict it to the damaged area only.

    • Jun Hong

      Can withstand 10,000 elephants, gets demolished by dropping from the knee

      • Ruzveh

        have they really tested it before making such comments?

      • WestFiasco

        I think they meant if the glass is lying flat.

        • http://www.pavelkounine.com/ Pavel Kounine

          Isn’t that like touting a benefit that no one actually cares about?

          • WestFiasco

            Marketing is the name of the game.

    • Steffen Wang

      Glass isn’t a super cooled liquid, its an amorphous solid. Did corning really say this?

    • Orion Wolf

      Speculation on an ETA?

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