Tech

New material reduces the price of smartphones

photo credit: The new metal compound is up to 95 percent cheaper than the current market-leading material. Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock

As it’ll come to television displays, tablet computers and smartphones, a single construction material will dominate them all: ITO (Indium tin oxide). It has been utilized for the past sixty years, and is an important element for over 90% of all such displays. However, a possible competitor of ITO has been discovered, one which is both extremely conductive and highly transparent.

Unlike memory storage devices and processing chips, the expense of manufacturing more fracture-proof and touch-sensitive displays only has increased over time, and Indium tin oxide has shown to be the most adaptable material within this respect. It’s simple to shape, easy to make, efficiently conducts electricity, and has outstanding optical properties. Its price, unfortunately, has increased over the past decade, which means that there is room for competition – however, none have challenged the market dominance of ITO.

As mixed with oxygen, these metals additionally show amazing optical properties, permitting an impressive wavelength of light range to penetrate them, from low-energy infrared to high-energy ultraviolet. It’s essentially transparent to a broad array of light colors, which makes it perfect for use inside smartphone displays.

Indium presently costs $750 (£500) a kilogram. It already is a rare element within the crust of the Earth, one we’ve seriously depleted over the past 60 years. Vanadium, calcium and strontium – element of the correlated metal compounds utilized in the study – are more abundant. For example, Vanadium sells for just $25 (£17); strontium is even less expensive.

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