Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives to the point that it’s no longer sufficient for them to be powerful only. They also need to be able to survive many of the accidents we get subjected to, day in and day out, specifically splashes and drops of water. Water resistance is an important factor among high-end smartphones these days, and Samsung is taking that up to the next level by licensing superhydrophobic glass coating for its future devices, like smartphones and tablets.
“Hydrophobic” is a term used to describe, not a fear of water (though it does literally mean that), but a property of a material to repel mater. Superhydrophobic, however, has a very specific technical meaning. Specifically, a superhydrophobic material must be able to have an angle of water droplet contact greater than 150 degrees. And the glass coating that Samsung just licensed definitely exceeds that.
The technology comes from the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and is advertised to have a water droplet contact angle of 155 to 165 degrees. This means that those water droplets literally bounce off the surface, while carrying with it any dust particles along the way.
Such a transparent glass coating has obvious benefits to electronic devices such as smartphones and or any equipment that has a touch screen display, as not only does it repel water, it also indirectly removes dirt and dust while doing so. It also reduces light reflection and protects against smudges. Those are pretty much some of the biggest concerns regarding such screens.
As a newly licensed component, it will take time before we see these properties on commercial devices. Especially smartphones, where Samsung will most likely have to fine tune the touch screen sensitivity to the new superhydrophobic coating.