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Technology for Non-Breaking Smartphone Display Developed​
View : 7704 Date : 2013-06-09 Writer : ed_news

High-strength plastic display has been developed by applying a glass-fiber fabric.
“Will bring about innovation to the field by replacing glass substrates”

It is now possible to manufacture non-breaking smartphone display. Heavy glass substrates of large-screen televisions will be replaced with light plastic films.
 
Professor Choon Sup Yoon from KAIST’s Department of Physics and KAIST Institute for Information Technology Convergence has developed the technology for high-strength plastic substrates to replace glass displays.
 
The plastic substrate created by Professor Yoon and his research team have greatly enhanced needed properties of heat resistance, transparency, flexibility, inner chemical capability, and tensile strength. Although the material retains flexibility as a native advantage of plastic film, its tensile strength is three times greater than that of normal glass, which is a degree similar to tempered glass. In addition, Professor Yoon’s substrate is as colorless and transparent as glass and resists heat up to 450℃, while its thermal expansivity is only 10% to 20% of existing plastics.
 
Glass substrates are currently used in practically every display such as mobile phone screens, televisions, and computer monitors for having smooth surface and satisfying basic conditions for display substrates. However, as glass substrates are heavy and easily broken, researchers studied colorless and transparent plastic polyimide films to replace glass substrates for their excellent thermal and chemical stability.
 
Nonetheless, colorless and transparent polyimide films do not have sufficient heat resistance and mechanical solidity. To resolve this problem, polyimide films are impregnated with glass-fiber fabrics, but it was far from commercialization as the impregnation exacerbates the roughness of surface and light transmittance. The roughness of the surface increases as the solvent evaporates in the impregnation process, resulting in surface roughness of around 0.4μm. The downturn in light transmittance is due to light scattering effect by the discording refractive index of polyimide film and glass-fiber fabric.
 
Professor Yoon’s research team resolved these issues by tuning the refractive indices of transparent polyimide film and glass-fiber fabric up to four decimal places, and by developing the technology of flattening the film’s surface roughness to a few nanometers. As a result, the research team achieved heat expansivity of 11ppm/℃, surface roughness of 0.9nm, tensile strength of 250MPa, bending curvature radius of 2mm, and light transmittance at 90% with a 110μm-thick glass-fiber fabric impregnated transparent polyimide film substrate.
 
“The developed substrate can not only replace the traditional glass substrate but also be applied as flexible display substrate,” said Professor Yoon in prospect, “it will bring about technological innovation in display industry as it can fundamentally resolve the issue of shattering mobile phone displays, reduce the weight and thickness of large-area televisions, and apply Roll to Roll process in display manufacture.”
 
Supported by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy for five years, the technology has applied for 3 patents and is in discussion for technology transfer with related business.
  
Figure 1. The according (left) and discording (right) refractive indices of glass-fiber fabric and polyimide film. The characters on the left are sharp and clear, but the characters on the right appear foggy.

Figure 2. Picture of the developed glass-fiber fabric

Technology for Non-Breaking Smartphone Display Developed 이미지