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  • German Scientists Create a Smudge Proof Coating, Touch-Based User Interfaces Rejoice

    Example of solvent bouncing off of surface coated with the new "superamphiphobic" coating


    Fingerprints, smudges and smears could be a thing of the past for eyeglass wearers and gadget owners thanks to German researchers and a little soot.

    The smudge repellent in question is a special coating that repels both water and oil-based fluids. Water based repellents are rather common, but oil-based repellents are traditionally more difficult to produce because of oil’s lower surface tension. Producing a surface capable of repelling both requires a specific kind of roughness “akin to the branches of a budding tree." Research at MIT and elsewhere so far has relied on “nanolithographic techniques.”

    German Researcher utilize a much simpler solution.

    Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz published a paper in the journal Science detailing their method: baking a combination of candle soot and silica at the right temperature. The process’s description feels more Betty Crocker than it does scientific. First, the researchers held a glass slide over a heart-shaped candle (any candle will do) till spheres of soot—30 to 40 nanometers in diameter—stacked loosely producing the right texture, about a 80% empty to 20% spheres. To prevent the soot from washing away researchers coated the surface with a silica shell 25 nanometers thick, and baked the slide at 600 degrees Celsius to make the soot transparent.

    When the researchers sprayed a variety of oils on the slide—peanut and solvents—the droplets bounced up and down on the surface when viewed under a microscope. The coating is referred to as “superamphiphobic” because of its oil and water repelling properties, and can be applied to nearly any surface including aluminum, steel, and copper in addition to glass.

    For gadget iDevice, and gadget owners of every ilk this is a huge advancement. The faster this technology is able to make it from research to development to the manufacturing world the faster touch-based gadget users can live smudge free lives. No longer will “oleophobic” screens that barely repel smudges and fingerprints plague the touch-based user experience.

    This technology is likely still a ways out in terms of implementation into your next tablet or smartphone, but the prospect of a smudge free future is encouraging.

    Source: Technology Review
    This article was originally published in forum thread: German Scientists Create a Smudge Proof Coating, Touch-Based User Interfaces Rejoice started by Phillip Swanson View original post
    Comments 29 Comments
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by epikarus View Post
      A screen protector, i speculate, would be easier and cheaper to develop for than a delicate touch screen. I dunno much about material chemistry but thats my thought.
      I'm just saying it wouldn't be like screen protectors we have today. I can't imagine someone putting a sheet of thin plastic in a 600°C oven and not watching it shrivel up and disappear.
    1. stevenbrown8's Avatar
      stevenbrown8 -
      Quote Originally Posted by RICO_ View Post
      Baked at 600 degrees CELCIUS? Can the iPhone parts even withstand those kind of temperatures to get this on an iPhone screen?
      It's baked at 600 degress to make the slate not to adhere to a surface. Remember they can have this adhere to glass then start assembling the digitzer and other parts. Could you imagine a boat with this water and oil repelling on the bottom wow.
    1. sziklassy's Avatar
      sziklassy -
      Before I rejoice, I would like to see this in action. I remember when people were excited about gorilla glass. Turns out, not that exciting...
    1. xmatiixpl's Avatar
      xmatiixpl -
      german engineering
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by xmatiixpl View Post
      german engineering
      Maybe Volkswagens will have this on their windshields.
    1. xmatiixpl's Avatar
      xmatiixpl -
      Quote Originally Posted by Zokunei View Post
      Maybe Volkswagens will have this on their windshields.
      I wouldn't mind having this on my Audi!
    1. MYPHONEI's Avatar
      MYPHONEI -
      Reading through some of the comments on the thread, I fear for the future.......... How low tech are some Iphone people?

      WOW
    1. djdraco's Avatar
      djdraco -
      Throw mine in the oven, but make sure it's baked with love. Just like mom used to make.
    1. Zokunei's Avatar
      Zokunei -
      Quote Originally Posted by djdraco View Post
      Throw mine in the oven, but make sure it's baked with love. Just like mom used to make.
      They did use heart-shaped candles.