Tech & Science

Scientists Invent the Self-Healing Smartphone Display

Scientists invented the first smartphone which can fix itself and also conduct electricity

Everybody struggles with scratched or cracked screens on their smartphones. Researchers from the University of California found a way to ease people of the tiring job of constantly having their phone screens fixed. They invented the display which can fix itself.

This amazing material that the display is made of can repair itself and “heal” its scratches. Researchers even bent it in half and then saw how it started recovering. In 24 hours, it was sealed back in place. They even stretched it until it reached almost 50 times its size, and it still remained functional.

How does the miraculous display work?

The secret behind this magic capability lies in the material which composes it. It contains chemical bonds which can connect back into place even after they are torn apart. Chao Wang, the chemist which led this research, explained how bonds work.

There are two types of bonds which typically produce materials. Firstly, there are the covalent bonds. These are strong bonds and cannot come back into place if they are set apart. Non-covalent bonds are weaker, such as hydrogen bonds, which can break and reform any time.

For the display, Wang produced a material made up of ion-dipole bonds. A charged ionic link and a polar molecule can stretch the material and make it regain its initial form. This is perfect to create a protective display for smartphone, since it can conduct electricity. Thus, the phone achieves its touch sensitivity.

Not the first self-healing material, but the most effective

LG G Flex also has a back case which can heal from scratches. However, it is different and not so innovative, since it cannot conduct electricity. Thus, this display might be the future, but not before it undergoes thorough testing.

At the moment, researchers are looking at how it reacts when exposed to extreme humidity. Previous self-healing materials did not react too well in such conditions. They plan to further modify the bonds so that water would not affect its flexibility.

Wang hopes that he and his team can bring this display which can fix itself to smartphones until 2020. It might sound like a sci-fi technique, but it is actually not that sophisticated and, soon, all users will use such gear for their smartphones.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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