Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced this fall thatÂ Samsung Electronics has exclusively licensed a technology that canÂ improve the performance of glass displays on smart phones, tablets, and other electronic devices.
ORNL has developed a transparent coating that repels water, carrying away dust and dirt; reduces light reflection; and resists fingerprints and smudges. The opticallyÂ clear superhydrophobic film technology was theÂ result of about three years of superhydrophobic research on glass-based coatings, ORNL said in a press release.
â€œThe thin nanostructured layer of porous glass film enables these combined properties, making it suitable for commercial applications,â€ said ORNLâ€™s Tolga Aytug, co-inventor of the technology.
To be superhydrophobic, a surface must achieve a water droplet contact angle exceeding 150 degrees. ORNLâ€™s coating has a contact angle of between 155 and 165 degrees, so water literally bounces off, taking away dust particles, the press release said.
The ORNL research team developed the superhydrophobic technology by depositing a thin glass film on a glass surface and heating the coated glass to transform the surface into two material compositions. A selective etching process produces a porous three-dimensional network of high-silica content glass that resembles microscopic coral and enables water-repellent and antireflective properties.
Beyond electronics, the technology holds significant potential for applications in solar panels, lenses, detectors, windows, and many other products, the press release said. The fields of solar panels and architectural windows are still available for licensing.
Aytug led the technologyâ€™s development in collaboration with ORNL co-inventors Parans Paranthaman, Daniela Bogorin, David Christen, Brian Dâ€™Urso, and John Simpson and was recognized with an R&D 100 Award in 2015. The work was supported by ORNLâ€™s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program and Technology Innovation Program.
See this ORNL pageÂ for a link to aÂ video.
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