Corning launches ultra-slim flexible glass
Corning says that its new Willow Glass will help enable new, thinner applications and could revolutionize display manufacturing. The thinness, strength, and flexibility of the glass has the potential to enable displays to be "wrapped" around a device or structure. As well, Corning Willow Glass can be processed at temperatures up to 500° C. High temperature processing capability is essential for today's high end displays, and is a processing condition that cannot be supported with polymer films.
Corning Willow Glass will enable the industry to pursue high-temperature, continuous "roll-to-roll" processes – similar to how newsprint is produced - that have been impossible until now. It will support thinner backplanes and color filters for both organic light emitting diodes (OLED) and liquid crystal displays (LCD) in high performance, portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers.
This new, ultra-slim flexible glass will also help develop conformable (curved) displays for immersive viewing or mounting on non-flat surfaces. Corning Willow Glass is formulated to perform exceptionally well for electronic components such as touch sensors, as well as leveraging glass's natural hermetic properties as a seal for OLED displays and other moisture and oxygen-sensitive technologies.
"Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner. Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor," said Dr. Dipak Chowdhury, division vice president and Willow Glass program director.
"Currently manufacturing in a sheet-to-sheet process, we expect Corning Willow Glass to eventually allow customers to switch to high throughput, efficient roll-to-roll processing, a long-awaited industry milestone."
Corning is currently shipping samples of its Willow Glass to customers developing new display and touch applications. The company is also collaborating with research institutions, customers, and equipment makers to develop an ecosystem of compatible process equipment, including optimized process design. Although initially being launched as an advanced display substrate, Corning is actively working on other potential applications for its Willow Glass, including use in lighting and flexible solar cells.
"Corning will continue to develop and improve innovative glass products to enable the high-performance, game-changing displays that will drive tomorrow's increasingly diverse electronics markets," Chowdhury said.