Nav: Home

Toward making smart phone touchscreens more glare and smudge resistant

August 19, 2009

WASHINGTON, Aug. 19, 2009 -- Scientists have discovered the secret to easing one of the great frustrations of the millions who use smart phones, portable media players and other devices with touch- screens: Reducing their tendency to smudge and cutting glare from sunlight. In a report today at the 238th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society, they describe development of a test for performance of such smudge- and reflection-resistant coatings and its use to determine how to improve that performance.

Steven R. Carlo, Ph.D., Paul Verghese, Ming Wu and colleagues note in the new study that consumer electronics companies value the appearance of their flagship devices just as much as their functionality. As a result, smudge, scratch and reflective resistant coatings have become standard on high-end touch-screen cell phones and MP3 players. These coatings are effective. However, their structure and mechanisms are poorly understood, so Carlo and colleagues developed a test to determine the chemical composition and effectiveness of smudge and reflective resistant materials. The test could also lead to a better understanding of the chemistry of these coatings and allow improved formulations and performance, Carlo says.

"Surfaces are particularly important in consumer products. This work investigates how products can be modified to reduce smudging and reflections. These modifications can offer improved resistance to fingerprints, anti-reflection properties or enhanced physical resistance," Carlo explains.

The basis of anti-smudge coatings is a compound called perfluoro alkyl ether, a derivative of Teflon with added ether groups to enhance its repellent effects. Anti-reflective materials use alternating layers of material, including silica and aluminum layers, to bend and diffuse light to reduce glare.

Since traditional chemical techniques could not be used on these super-thin coatings, Carlo and his team used depth profile X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). That's a tool for comparing the chemistry of these coatings to predict their performance. The data allowed them to compare chain length, degree of branching and the hydrocarbon and fluoroether content of various samples. The fluoroether content has a key effect in enhancing efficacy. Anti-reflective coatings need alternating layers, which have differences in their refractive index (RI), a measure of how fast light travels through a material. Fluorocarbons in general have low RI and they offer anti-smudge properties. XPS allowed the scientists to visualize the multi-layer structure and the chemical species present in each layer. In general, the greater the number of layers there are in a coating, the greater the anti-reflective properties. Carlo and his team also discovered that more silica and aluminum layers led to better glare reduction.
-end-


American Chemical Society

Related Performance Articles:

Anticipating performance can hinder memory
Anticipating your own performance at work or school may hinder your ability to remember what happened before your presentation, a study from the University of Waterloo has found.
Want to optimize sales performance?
CATONSVILLE, MD, September 16, 2019- According to new research published in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science, companies can improve sales performance when they adjust sales commissions for the sale of more popular items.
A little kindness goes a long way for worker performance and health
Small gestures of kindness by employers can have big impacts on employees' health and work performance, according to an international team of researchers.
Assessing battery performance: Compared to what?
A team from the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory, University of Warwick, OVO Energy, Hawaii National Energy Institute, and Jaguar Land Rover reviewed the literature on the various methods used around the world to characterize the performance of lithium-ion batteries to provide insight on best practices.
The role of intuition in music performance
PHENICX, a project of the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme coordinated by Emilia Gómez, a researcher with the Musical Technology Research Group of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at UPF, has attempted to create new digital experiences to enrich the experience of a classical music concert (before, during and after the concert itself) from different areas in order to bring classical music to new audiences in an innovative way and via technology.
Structure of electrolyte controls battery performance
The research team at the Department of Electrical and Electronic Information Engineering, Toyohashi University of Technology has reported that adding water into electrolyte improves the function of vanadium oxide, which is one of positive electrode material in calcium-ion batteries.
The illusion of multitasking boosts performance
Our ability to do things well suffers when we try to complete several tasks at once, but a series of experiments suggests that merely believing that we're multitasking may boost our performance by making us more engaged in the tasks at hand.
High-performance self-assembled catalyst for SOFC
An international team of researchers , affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) has unveiled a novel catalyst that can significantly enhance the performance of perovskite electrodes in Solid Oxide Fuel Cell.
A novel approach of improving battery performance
A team of researchers affiliated with South Korea's Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology has introduced a novel technology that promises to significantly boost the performance of lithium metal batteries.
Analyzing insect performance
A team of researchers from the University of Missouri looked at the role neonicotinoid insecticides play in arthropod abundance, behavior, condition, reproductive success and survival.
More Performance News and Performance Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.