Australian scientists develop ultra thin flexible touch screen that can be printed and rolled up like a newspaper
Today, touch screens have been widely used in various electronic products, such as smart phones, tablet computers, car navigation systems, and automated teller machines. The touch screen not only facilitates us to complete various operations, but also makes electronic products more portable and compact.
However, the realization of the touch screen is inseparable from an important substance, which is Indium Tin Oxide (ITO). However, ITO is hard and brittle, and easily breaks when bent, which is not suitable for flexible electronic products.
Recently, Australian scientists have developed a new type of electronic material with touch-sensing function, which is much thinner than the current smartphone screen thickness. This technology may be used in the next generation of mobile devices, and because of its incredible thinness and flexibility, it can be used for mass production using printed roll-to-roll (R2R) processing like printed newspapers.
The material used in this touch response technology is 100 times thinner than existing touch screen materials, and it is so flexible that it can be rolled up like a tube.
In order to create this new type of conductive sheet, the team led by RMIT University adopted the thin film commonly used in mobile phone touch screens and used liquid metal chemistry to reduce it from three dimensions to two dimensions. This nanosheet is easily compatible with existing electronic technology, and due to its incredible flexibility, it is expected to be manufactured by a roll-to-roll (R2R) process like a newspaper.
Principal Researcher Dr. Torben Daeneke said: "We have taken the old material and transformed it from the inside to create a new version that is extremely thin and flexible." "You can bend it, twist it, And it is much cheaper and more efficient than the slow and expensive way we currently make touch screens. "
The researchers achieved this goal through the liquid metal printing process. This involves heating the indium-tin alloy to 200 ° C (392 ° F) to make it liquid, and then rolling it across the entire surface to produce nanosheets. These two-dimensional sheets are made of the same chemicals as conventional indium tin oxide, but have different crystal structures inside and therefore have some unique functions.
Although this material is not only sufficiently flexible, but also more transparent, it will only absorb 0.7% of the light projected on it, while standard conductive glass can absorb 5% to 10% of the light. This means that less power will be consumed, extending battery life by approximately 10%.
For now, the team has used the material to build a working touch screen, but it can be imagined that its value can also be extended to other areas. Advanced touch displays, solar cells and smart windows.
The team is currently exploring business opportunities for the technology, hoping to attract industry partners to bring it to market. The research was published in the journal Nature Electronics.
The research team now uses this new material to create a working touch screen as a proof of concept and has applied for a patent for this technology. This material can also be applied to many other optoelectronic products, such as LEDs and touch displays, and is expected to be used in future solar cells and smart windows.