Optical Films for Durable Screen Protection
Electronic displays are ubiquitous in everyday life. It is estimated that as much as 94% of adults in advanced economies own a smartphone, which means the vast majority of people reading this article are digitally connected via mobile technology. The fact that this post must be read on an electronic display merely drives that point home. So what goes into fabricating these complex optoelectronic components that have pervaded society more than almost any other modern technology?
What it Takes to Make Durable Screens
Modern smartphones typically comprise a thin film stack protected by a glass substrate. Two main paradigms exist in smartphone technologies today: OLED and LCD. Each of these advanced optical systems is integrated with different inputs which enable users to interface with the system at the touch of their finger. Some register touch as a function of changes in capacitance/resistance. Others print touch sensors on the display directly.
Regardless of the input, every touchscreen technology raises issues with regards to abrasion resistance versus clarity. Optical films are routinely integrated into the screen architecture as hard coats on the glass substrate. The goal here is to impart enhanced chemical and wear resistance without infringing upon the important optical properties of the screen itself.
Optical Film Release Liners & Hard Coats
The optical films used to enhance durability in touchscreens are typically overlaid on the screen as a hard coat or using a release liner. Excellent clarity is a critical key performance indicator (KPI), but it is not the only marker for success. Compatibility with industry-tested adhesives, proven abrasion resistance, good slip resistance, and ease of release are just some of the metrics crucial to optical film applicability to screen protection applications.
VERSIV™ Optical Films are advantageous to smartphone applications as they excel in the very areas that facilitate end-user satisfaction and can be incorporated onto the surface of a device for impact, abrasion, and chemical resistance. Based on a choice of polyester (PET), thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), VERSIV™Optical Films represent exceptionally high tensile and tear resistance with excellent degrees of conformability. Coupled with these optical films’ inherent compatibility with a range of adhesives, this makes them uniquely suited to hard coating of plastic and glass substrates on smartphones.
What this means for end-users is less scratching without a noticeable effect on the optical properties of the screen.
It is important to note that VERSIV™ Optical Films are engineered to improve the abrasion resistance of plastic substrates while many modern smartphones use Gorilla Glass as their transparent substrate.