back to article Why next iPhone screen could be made of SAPPHIRE - and a steal...

Man-made sapphire could replace Gorilla Glass as the material of choice for scratch-and-crack-resistant mobile phone screens in the near future, according to a recent speculative piece from MIT Technology Review. According to the research university's mag: Manufactured sapphire — a material that’s used as transparent armor …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Silver badge

Re: Never mind the quality - feel the width !

Hmm, it wasn't really the image I wanted to accompany my morning coffee, though.

2
0
Thumb Up

Re: Never mind the quality - feel the width !

after you with the minds eye bleach!

1
0

Re: Never mind the quality - feel the width !

That is indeed my attempt to achieve lasting fame and reknown by having coined a neologism worthy of being included in the pantheon.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Never mind the quality - feel the width !

There is no K in 'renown'.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Never mind the quality - feel the width !

"Hmm, it wasn't really the image I wanted to accompany my morning coffee, though."

Think yourself lucky. I was eating raspberry yoghurt when I read that line. (I actually was).

4
0
Gold badge

Re: Never mind the quality - feel the width !

accompany my morning coffee

Er, I don't think you're supposed to dunk them.

2
0
Silver badge
Coat

Re: Never mind the quality - feel the width ! (@ TeeCee)

"Er, I don't think you're supposed to dunk them."

Unless you're a female elephant.

0
0

Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

Baden-Powell's somewhat less well received sequel to Scouting for Boys, wasn't it? Gave birth to the Girl Guides movement, something like that?

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

I thought it was euphemism for a night out in Newcastle...

9
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

"My day job for the last year or so has been huntin' slags"

- also an evening occupation of most blokes in Northern towns on a Friday and Saturday night

3
2
JDX
Gold badge

Re: Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

In northern towns you don't exactly need to hunt for them, any more than you have to hunt for pools of sick.

2
1

Re: Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

"My day job for the last year or so has been huntin' slags in the famous Ore Mountains" - sounds even funnier if you say it in a pirate voice...

2
0

Re: Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

Oh aye, oop north has always been famous for its ores.

Nowadays of course it's mostly slags you're finding.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

""My day job for the last year or so has been huntin' slags"

- also an evening occupation of most blokes in Northern towns on a Friday and Saturday night"

As opposed to the southern towns, who do not need to go huntin' for them. They're at home.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Fixed

Re: Ah yes, Hunting for Slags...

I thought it was euphemism for a night out in any English town or city

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fixed

> Hunting for Slags...

OK, Google is not much help in this instance.

I *presume* you are not a puritanical gunman looking to rid the world of women of "low repute".

Could you give a clue to those of us that don't know what you're talking about?

0
0

Re: Fixed @ skelband

Not hunting with guns, you silly person, merely "seeking out". You are, nevertheless, correct in your interpretation of the word slag.

HTH

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fixed @ skelband

I'm still a bit confused: what are the "slags" being hunted for in this instance?

0
0
Ru

Re: Fixed @ skelband

I'm still a bit confused: what are the "slags" being hunted for in this instance?

What might look like a common slag to the unitiated may in fact be a valuable ore, and worth a penny or two to the pimp prospector who stakes an appropriate claim and has a client in mind with suitably niche tastes.

0
0
Silver badge
Devil

Fantastic

We shall all congratulate Apple with innovating this new and wonderful innovation in the world of consumer electronics. This is so exciting and such a good reason to buy this new and innovative gadget. I just cannot wait until the hype wave starts rising and all the usual suspects try to ride it under the rainbow and into the sunset.

They will call fossilized grumpy old men those of us who can remember that Motorola KRZR K1 (2006) shipped with a Al203 glass (and you could use it as a hammer or chisel - best built phone I ever seen, pity the software was major s***age). Actually my Poljot high school watch from 30 years ago used it and so does my current Fossil.

It is the usual Apple - taking an old, tried, tested tech, twisting the arm of a few manufacturers to mass-produce it and doing the mother of all marketing campaigns to pretend to have innovated it.

3
5

Re: Fantastic

The article doesn't mention anything about Apple using the tech. The headline is clickbait and nothing more. So calm down.

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Fantastic

Nothing personal Mr. James, but don't most of us read most of the articles here, anyway? Or is it just me?

0
1

Re: Fantastic

Most of the regulars probably read most of the articles, but headlines like this will lure in traffic from elsewhere, and cause anti Apple nutcases to froth at the mouth before they get chance to reach the opening paragraph.

1
0
Thumb Up

I saw what you did there...

Sapphire and steal, eh? Nicely done.

5
0
Go

Re: I saw what you did there... All I have to say on the matter is...

All irregularities will be handled by the forces controlling each dimension.

Trans-uranic heavy elements may not be used where there is life.

Medium atomic weights are available.

Gold, lead, copper, jet, diamond, radium, sapphire, silver and steel.

Sapphire and steel have been assigned.

1
0
Silver badge
Boffin

U+1F716

If I could be bothered to switch off my Adblocker I'm sure that this page is full of ads for...

"Sea monkeys - watch them swim!"

"Grow your own crystal garden"

"X-Ray Specs!"

etc.

0
1
Go

Given the rectangular shape of phones

and the circular shape of ingots, that's going to mean an absolute boat load of wastage while they make a round ingot fit a rectangular hole. Maybe the offcuts can be sold on to the watch industry...

0
0
Gold badge

Re: Given the rectangular shape of phones

Don't be silly. The next iPhone will simply be round. Problem solved, and ground prepared for next Samsung lawsuit. And of course, the most rounded corners of any square ever made...

7
0
Go

Sapphire glass is already in use on the iPhone

Only to cover the camera lens on the iPhone 5 though. But perhaps it shows intent...

0
0
Silver badge
Go

Re: Sapphire glass is already in use on the iPhone

I agree the fact Apple already uses sapphire in the iPhone 5 makes it more likely that Apple uses it for the screen than anyone else. On the other hand Apple has a deal with the maker of Liquid Metal giving them an exclusive license in the field of consumer devices and used it for the SIM tool a couple phones ago....and nothing since.

Just because they used it for the camera lens doesn't mean they'll find it practical to use it for the screen. Remember the complaints about the purple tint in photos showing up at certain angles? Yep, the sapphire's responsible. Apple is big on very accurate color reproduction on their displays, they would have to find a way around this before they'd consider using it for their display glass.

It would be interesting if they went to a Liquid Metal body and sapphire screen. The entire phone would be essentially scratchproof, though the screen itself would likely be not all that much different in shatter resistance than glass, nor would the body be wildly less susceptible to dents than the aluminum used in the iPhone 5. There is unfortunately typically a relationship between the hardness of a material and its resistance to shattering. If you want something to not shatter, you want it to be flexible, not stiff. Flexible things typically will either dent or scratch depending on the type of flexibility. If they're flexible but spring back then they're the kind of thing more likely to shatter due to fatigue. Kind of a vicious material circle.

Scratchproof, shatterproof AND dent proof? Not going to happen. There will never be a perfect material for cell phone screens or bodies that is both resistant to scratches from typical use (pockets, purses and the things normally kept within) as well as able to survive a drop from ear height onto concrete without scratches or dents from all likely impact angles. Well, shouldn't say never, nanotechnology may save the day, but we haven't found anything yet that can do this, even at the "crazy rich guy" end of the spectrum, let alone the "we can build it for $200-ish and sell it for $600-ish" range that iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S* play in.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Star Trekkin'

"Aluminium is, of course, a metal, while sapphire is an aluminium oxide: it's not quite and wholly true to say that it's just aluminium glass but it's a useful way of thinking about it."

Aye captain, transparent aluminium...

;-D

1
0
Facepalm

Its not a rectangle its a long sided square with round corners as per the patent.....

My I hope your misses understands the inference of what your hunting for but its good to know manufacturers are pandering more to the careless end user who treat tech as throw away items.

0
1
Thumb Up

Where's Silver?

I'm loving the Sapphire and Steel reference :)

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Where's Silver?

You're the 2nd or 3rd person to mention this, I guess I'm going to have to refer to Google to see what this is about.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Sizes?

"Currently, at least with the pieces I've seen, it's about the shape and size of the sort of candle you might put on a dinner table. "

Yet,

"a material that’s used as transparent armor[sic] on military vehicles"

hmm.. something doesn't seem right there...

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Sizes?

One is a drawn ingot, the other is a deposited coating.

Although a Humvee decorated with candles would certainly give one pause for thought.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Sizes?

Not as much as a Humvee decorated with elephant tampons!

3
0
Ru

Re: Sizes?

There's at least one company who can make transparent alumina slabs which aren't fancy single-crystal ingots. They're not quite as resilient as the higher-quality offerings, but they're cheaper and already available in armoured vehicle window sizes.

0
0

"Must try harder"

Standard plain glass is silica (silicon dioxide)

NO it isn't - it's a mix of sodium and calcium silicates + various other bibs and bobs

2
1

Glass?

Surely it's completely wrong to describe it as "aluminium glass", or even to describe it as glass at all. Glass is an amorphous solid, sapphire is a crystal. "Glass" is just a handy word in this context for "substance which is hard and transparent."

3
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Silica <> glass

Silica or quartz is not (often) a true glass. Fused silica is used in optics, but due to the high temperatures needed for glass transition it is limited in its use. Typical glass combines silica (about 75%) with sodium and calcium oxides. So silica is the main constituent in many cases, but not the whole story. Most silica typically has a proper crystalline structure, and is not glass-like in many properties (e.g. thermal conductivity of glass is typically closer to that of certain liquids than that of crystalline silica or carborundum (alumina)).

</pedantry>

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Squares that look round

I was assuming the ingot was a cylinder?

Slice that through the vertical, then you have two square surfaces from which you can slice (admittedly smaller and smaller) square slivers/slice

In the short term (low yield) the diameter of the ingot only needs to be a little bigger than the width of the screen you want to make, by a little longer. Lots of wastage, but probably do able with the current "fat candle" ingots.

0
0
Silver badge

I don't know what size candles you use for Slag bait but

When I used to work in chip research we were baking them on 3" diameter wafers of Sapphire back in the early 80s. SOS had some significant advantages if you're concerned with making stuff rad hard, silicon is for softies who live on the ground.

I thought the production side of the business was using bigger wafers even back then.

Typing Silicon on Sapphire into Google shows an ad at the top for 300mm wafers! So they could already make iPod/any chosen brand of fondle slab screens if anyone cared enough to try.

I remember finding a whole load of old 2" wafers in the back of an old cupboard and one of the managers taking them with the intention of making the world most bling lamp shade.

0
0

I know it's not the bastion of reporting that El Reg is but CNet did a similar report a while back mainly concentrating on the applied tech rather than the research behind it.

http://cnettv.cnet.com/virtually-indestructible-sapphire-smartphone-screen/9742-1_53-50141889.html

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Looks like they've achieved 6" dia. sapphire ingots now

http://d27vj430nutdmd.cloudfront.net/18411/102964/102964-14.pdf

0
0
Silver badge

Birefringent

It's a pity that sapphire's birefringent. It has a high refractive index, but low dispersion, so it would otherwise be an ideal material for lenses.

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Thumb Up

I henceforth refuse to read any technology publication which lacks a dedicated mining correspondent.

1
0

That would be good

Given that I'm just about the only freelance around who both knows his mining stuff about weird metals and also has even a passing knowledge of tech......lots more commissions then!

1
0
Joke

Why do elephants have trunks?

Because sheep don't have string.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2018