'Willow Glass' screens to wrap around mobile devices

Ultra-thin glass could be used to create thinner, lighter phones and tablets

A new type of ultra-thin glass has been developed that can bend and "wrap" around devices, potentially revolutionising the shape and form of future consumer electronic technologies.

The new material, known as Willow Glass, has been developed by Corning - the same company that created ultra-strong Gorilla Glass, which is currently used in many smartphones and tablets - using its proprietary fusion process.

Willow Glass can be made as thin as 100 microns to increase the sensitivity of touchscreens, and can also support thinner backplanes and colour filters for both organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and liquid crystal displays (LCDs).

Moreover, Willow Glass can be processed at temperatures of up to 500C - a capability that Corning says will enable the industry to pursue continuous "roll-to-roll" processes, similar to how newsprint is produced - that have been impossible until now (see video below).

"Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner. Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor," said Dr Dipak Chowdhury, division vice president and Willow Glass program director.

"Currently manufacturing in a sheet-to-sheet process, we expect Corning Willow Glass to eventually allow customers to switch to high-throughput, efficient roll-to-roll processing, a long-awaited industry milestone."

Willow Glass could be used to make thinner, lighter mobile devices, or to make curved displays for immersive viewing or mounting on non-flat surfaces.

Corning is currently shipping samples of its Willow Glass to customers developing new display and touch applications, and is also collaborating with research institutions and equipment makers to develop an ecosystem of compatible process equipment.

However, Corning is not the only company experimenting with flexible screens for mobile devices. Although Plastic Logic pulled out of the e-reader business last month, it still plans to license its bendable plastic displays to OEMs, system integrators, and device manufacturers for applications such as paper replacement and rugged displays.

Meanwhile, mobile device manufacturer Samsung has shown flexible OLED displays inside rigid cases that kept the screens curved, and plans to launch mobile phones with flexible displays this year, with tablets and other portable devices to have these displays soon after.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sophie Curtis

Techworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?