Through a press release, Samsung has announced the licensing of a superhydrophobic glass coating that literally allows water droplets to bounce off it, carrying away dirt and dust. This glass film technology is a product of research from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) that the Korean tech giant now wants to use for its electronic devices.
By the name of the tech itself, the superhydrophobic glass coating repels water droplets at angles over 155 degrees. This causes the droplets to bounce off, carrying away with it dust and dirt. “The thin nanostructured layer of porous glass film enables these combined properties, making it suitable for commercial applications,” said ORNL’s Tolga Aytug, co-inventor of the technology.
The technology also reduces light reflection and resists fingerprints and smudges, and all these things are features that consumers want to see for their touchscreen-enabled devices. A selective etching process produces a porous three-dimensional network of high-silica content glass that under a microscope would resemble coral formations. This design enables the material to be water-repellent and antireflective at the same time.
As Samsung has already licensed this technology, Aytug is waiting for other industries to license it as well. Beyond electronics, the technology is also significantly usable for solar panels, lenses, detectors, windows and many other glass products. The fields of solar panels and architectural windows are still available for licensing.