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Corning introduces the paper-thin and flexible Willow Glass

June 5, 2012

As the gorilla in the industry, it’s hard not to find Corning’s creations in your favorite gadgets. In fact, the damage-resistant Gorilla Glass and its sequel have now been used by 33 major brands in over 750 product models and 750 million devices the world over. So, what’s next for the glass specialist?

Corning has spotted a trend, which others have picked up as well, by announcing the launch of Willow Glass, an ultra thin and bendable type of glass, which the company hopes will revolutionize the form of next-generation gadgets. The thinness and flexibility of Corning Willow Glass means that displays can be “wrapped” around your phone, tablet, and other devices.

“Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner. Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor,” said Dr. Dipak Chowdhury, division vice president and Willow Glass program director. The company aims for the Willow Glass to eventually be produced in a roll-to-roll processing, instead of the current sheet-to-sheet process, which would make it similar to how newspapers is produced. This would drastically bring down prices, as the roll-to-roll process is much more efficient and economical.

Although the Willow Glass has just been launched, Corning already has big plans for its bendable glass. Corning wants to make use of the Willow Glass in lighting fixtures and flexible solar cells in the future. That’s fine and all, but we’re more interested to see which phone manufacturer will snap up the display substrate and come up with a breakthrough product.

Corning isn’t the only company looking to score points in the bendable display area. Coming out with its own flexible displays is Samsung, with the Youm displays, which use a plastic substrate instead of glass. The Korean’s flexible OLED panels will reportedly be in production this year, with over 960,000 glass sheets already ordered.