Corning, better known for its Gorilla Glass which is today virtually used in every high-end smartphone, today announced the next generation of its glass development which is called "Corning Willow Glass". Willow Glass is an ultra-slim flexible glass, which could, according to Corning, revolutionize the shape and form of next-generation consumer electronic technologies. 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 will help enable thin, light and cost-efficient applications including today's slim displays and the smart surfaces of the future. 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.
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.
Like Corning's other leading-edge glass substrates, including EAGLE XG Slim and Corning Lotus Glass, Corning Willow Glass is produced using the company's proprietary fusion process. Advances in fusion forming have made it possible to produce glass that is 100 microns thick – about the thickness of a sheet of copy paper. Even at that thickness, it provides hermetic sealing to sensitive components, while also providing excellent optical, thermal, and surface properties.
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.
No word yet if Corning's Willow Glass will be as strong as the company's Gorilla Glass which is today's benchmark for smartphones - after mineral glass which is even stronger but thicker, heavier and more expensive or when we can really expect the first smartphones featuring Willow Glass.
Cheers ~ Arne