Flexible touchscreen

The 20th and 21st century, I feel are the periods of a silent revolution, “The Revolution of Technology”. It is amazing how technology has advanced in leaps and bounds and how the world from being a huge isolated “world” has now become a global village. Communication and information exchange have grown at an unprecedented rate and at the heart of this advancement right now is the mobile phone. It is nearly impossible for us to even fathom carrying around one’s phone with oneself about 15 years ago. Forward to the present, most of us carry the world with ourselves at all times in our pockets courtesy, the smartphone. We have all observed how the mobile phone has gone from being a huge, clunky and uncomfortable device to the sleek, elegant and easy to handle thing we have today. Displays have changed as phones have gone from black and green to colour to the ultra-high res HD phones available in the market now. One of the distinctive features of most phones today is the touchscreen. The touchscreen is a wonderful technology replacing displays of all kinds of electronic gadgets including television, mobile phones and music systems. The most common type of touch screen used in mobile phones is the capacitive touchscreen. It basically consists of an insulator like glass, which is coated with a conductor like iridium tin oxide. Touching the surface of the screen leads to a distortion in the existing Electrostatic field which is measured in terms of the change in capacitance. Different technologies are used to detect the location of this distortion and the signal is then passed on to the controller for processing. The Super AMOLED used by Samsung in the high end phones of the Galaxy Series further advances this technology by eliminating a layer of conductor by building the capacitors within the display itself. This leads to a more responsive and a more accurate display in terms of the signal processing. Further advancements have seen the touchscreen go from rigid to flexible which can be twisted and turned. Materials Science and Nanotechnology have a huge role to play here. The current technology employs the use of graphene and ferric chloride. Graphene is a single atom layer of graphite (graphite is the substance our pencil leads are made of). Graphene is the thinnest electro-conducting material available to us at this moment. Some problems of electro-conductivity were solved by sandwiching a layer of ferric chloride and thus Graph-Exeter was produced ( because this was developed at University of Exeter). Attempts are being made not only to make this feasible for mobile phones but also for touchscreen windows and maybe even wearable electronics( that would be very cool!).

Rahul Sanghavi

A budding engineer with interests ranging from movies to particle physics is what defines me. Music History is something I'm passionate about ."Carpe Diem" are the words I live by.

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