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16.10.2015, Mainz (Germany)

Ultra-thin glass for the smartphone of the future

Micrometer thin glass that is flexible and yet very strong will soon perform many different functions in cell phones
Glass thinner than a human hair is now strong and flexible enough to be used in a wide variety of high-tech applications. The technology group SCHOTT is one of the few companies in the world that develops and manufactures ultra-thin glass for cutting-edge features in smartphones of the future, including cover glasses, substrates for flexible OLED displays and “wearables,” camera systems, novel micro batteries, processors and fingerprint and bio-sensors.

By using innovative materials and its own proprietary down-draw technology, SCHOTT can reliably produce ultra-thin glass as thin as 25 microns today. These glasses offer many advantages over other materials such as plastic or silicon, support the trend toward miniaturization and make exciting concepts possible in the race to develop smartphone technologies of the future.

Displays and “wearables” that can be bent or folded
Hardened ultra-thin glass is scratch-resistant and bendable up to a radius of a few millimeters and doesn’t show any signs of fatigue. Furthermore, it has excellent barrier properties and protects against environmental influences. This makes it an ideal substrate or encapsulant for OLEDs (Organic Light Emitting Diodes) that ultimately make bendable or foldable displays possible. This then opens the door for manufacturing flexible smartphones or so-called wearables, in other words devices that can be worn as bracelets or be integrated into textiles.

Fingerprint recognition and smart cameras
Capacitive fingerprint sensors are becoming increasingly important for secure identification of smartphone users. To achieve the highest recognition accuracy, they require covers that are as thin as possible that must also be very strong. Ultra-thin glass from SCHOTT has a uniquely high dielectric constant; therefore the sensor signal is attenuated only very slightly on the way to the finger. SCHOTT is currently the only company that manufactures chemically hardened ultra-thin glass that offers four times higher strength than unhardened base glass. Thanks to their high optical quality, such glasses can be used in smartphone cameras: as chemically hardened cover glass or IR-cut filters for CMOS image sensors.

From chip packaging to thin-film batteries
Ultra-thin glass also withstands the increasing heat generation of high-performance processors in smartphones better than plastics that are currently being used in chip packaging. Even the thinnest glass does not bend during use and thus makes extremely flat device types possible. Ultra-thin glass also represents a promising alternative to silicon as a substrate material for penetrations and for distributing data streams between processors, memory chips and other components. The unique high-frequency electrical properties of glass allow for data to be transported with lower electrical losses and thus longer battery runtimes for smartphones. Laser-engineered ultra-thin glass can increase current data transfer rates by a factor of up to eight and is thus the material of choice as a substrate for space-saving chip packaging. Micrometer-thin glass is also an ideal substrate for novel thin-film batteries and contributes directly to higher performance. These next generation micro-batteries supply electricity to even the smallest autonomous devices or sensors. Potential fields of application include, for example, “wearables,” small security cameras, but even more importantly, the “Internet of Things.” “Thanks to these exciting future trends in the electronics industry, our developments in the area of ultra-thin glass are meeting with ever greater interest. We are in close contact with development and industry partners and see relevant growth potential for SCHOTT,” says Dr. Ruediger Sprengard, Director of New Business for Ultra-Thin Glass at SCHOTT Advanced Optics.

SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass and glass-ceramics. The company has more than 130 years of outstanding development, materials and technology expertise and offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products. SCHOTT is an innovative enabler for many industries, including the home appliance, pharmaceutical, electronics, optics, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT strives to play an important part of everyone’s life and is committed to innovation and sustainable success. The group maintains a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 35 countries. With its workforce of approximately 15,400 employees, sales of 1.87 billion euros were generated in fiscal year 2013/2014. The parent company, SCHOTT AG, has its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) and is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes special responsibility for its employees, society and the environment. www.schott.com
In the smartphone of the future ultra-thin glass from SCHOTT can perform important functionalities: As hardened cover glass of the bendable OLED display, in the camera module or in the fingerprint sensor, as a substrate material for the thin-film battery
In the smartphone of the future ultra-thin glass from SCHOTT can perform important functionalities: As hardened cover glass of the bendable OLED display, in the camera module or in the fingerprint sensor, as a substrate material for the thin-film battery
Press contact
SCHOTT AG
Christine Fuhr
Public Relations Manager
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4550
Further information
SCHOTT AG
Salvatore Ruggiero
Vice President Marketing and Communication
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4140
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