Even with a screen protector, smudges still manage to plague our smartphone screens. That is why a team of researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research has gone public with their finding of a cheap way to coat surfaces (such as displays) with a “liquid-droplet” repellent. As of right now, many water or oil repellents exist. However, to get your hands on an oil and water repellent, you are going to have to cough up more dough (pun intended).
To test their solution, the researchers first collected a droplet of soot from a burning candle. Then, after they heated the soot so that calcination could occur, the soot became transparent. This now transparent surface has to be put to the test. The researchers found that it was extremely durable even through sandblasting. Furthermore, when the surface was sprayed with different liquids and water, the droplets “bounced up and down on the surface, became spherical, rolled off and left absolutely nothing behind”. This process can be seen in the image above, or the video below.
As you can see, this coating is very efficient and would work well against the oils and water on our hands. In addition to touch screens, this coating could be used in hospitals to prevent contamination, as well as on car and building windows to repel rain water.