The Next Generation Of Touch Screen Materials Has An "Indium-free Solution"

Indium Become The "Behind-the-scenes Hero" Of  Touch Screen Materials

As a rare metal, one of the most important applications of indium is synthesis into indium tin oxide. This compound has become the "behind-the-scenes hero" of touch screen materials due to its optically transparent and conductive characteristics. However, indium is scarce and expensive, and it may even be "endangered" in the future. Now, researchers at the University of Sydney, Australia have found a potential solution: they have developed a new method of using plasma technology to make indium-free transparent conductive films. The new film is very flexibly manipulate, and the production process consumes low power and is environmentally friendly. . Related research was published on the 19th in the "Solar Materials and Solar Cells" magazine.


 New Touch Screen Film

The new touch screen film invented this time does not contain plasma, but the manufacturing process uses plasma technology. It is a new tungsten oxide deposition method called HiPIMS. Through this method, researchers have developed a nanocomposite material composed of tungsten oxide and silver, allowing electrochromic devices to efficiently and quickly change colors according to user needs.


Using a process called "plasma sputtering", the researchers made a new type of ultra-thin "sandwich" material on glass-a layer of ultra-thin silver sandwiched between two layers of tungsten oxide. The thickness of this structure is less than 100 nanometers, which is about one thousandth of the width of a human hair.


During the production process, the researchers placed a mixture of argon and oxygen in a strong electric field until the mixture turned into a plasma state. The plasma use to bombard a solid tungsten target, separating atoms from it . And depositing them as an ultra-thin layer on the glass surface.


 Use On Any Glass Surface

Next, the researchers repeated the process with metallic silver. And finally used tungsten oxide embedded with silver nanoparticles for the third time. The whole process only takes a few minutes, generates very little waste, and is cheaper than using indium. The resulting film can use on any glass surface, such as mobile phone screens or windows.


The finished plasma film is electrochromic. Unlike color-changing glasses that react to ambient light, the transparency and color of the film will change if a voltage use to the film.


Benan Akavan, a researcher at the School of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Physics at the University of Sydney. He said: “Smart windows coated with a new plasma film use to block light and block heat as needed. It can also apply to any glass surface, depending on the outdoor weather. Set to adjust transparency."


The Future Of  Touch Screen Material

The researchers said that this new indium-free technology has great potential in the manufacture of next-generation touch screen devices (such as smart phones or electronic paper). Or in environmentally friendly smart windows and solar cells. At present, this technology is ready to open up a larger-scale commercial path. And their next goal is to make it suitable for future wearable electronic devices.


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