Science Invents "Transparent Metal" To Replace Smartphone and TV Displays

Science Invents "Transparent Metal" To Replace Smartphone and TV Displays

Google Nexus 6 Smartphone 2 social

Your phone display might soon be replaced with a transparent metal stronger and cheaper than what's currently on the market.

Most of us stare at screens for a huge portion of the day, but have you ever wondered what goes into one? It turns out most consist of indium tin oxide, a less-than-ideal metal which eats up to 40 percent of smartphone and tablet costs. But this tech could be on the way out thanks to a brand-new discovery: A transparent, electrically conductive metal called strontium vanadate. And outside of simply making our devices more efficent and cheaper, it could support new inventions like "smart windows" that weren't feasible for mass production before.

ITO has certainly been a functional resource, as far as smartphone metals go. But it's also one that's increasingly proven cumbersome for the tech industry. Over 90 percent of the market is dependent on ITO, and it's among the most expensive materials in our displays today. While the actual electronics behind our screens have decreased in price, ITO fluctuated wildly from $200/kg to $1000/kg over the past decade. So you can understand why Roman Engel-Herbert and a team from Penn State University wanted to develop something new.

"We are trying to make metals transparent by changing the effective mass of their electrons," Engel-Herbert explained. "We are doing this by choosing materials in which the electrostatic interaction between negatively charged electrons is very large compared to their kinetic energy. As a result of this strong electron correlation effect, electrons 'feel' each other and behave like a liquid rather than a gas of non-interacting particles."

There's no word on whether Engel-Herbert got the inspiration for this transparent metal from a Scottish engineer confused by computer mice. Regardless, this process emphasizes properties in the metal which make them ideal for smartphones, computers, and TV displays. And since its base resources are more abundantly distributed in the Earth's crust, it should prove far cheaper to mass produce. "Now, the question is how to implement these new materials into a large-scale manufacturing process," Engel-Herbert explained. "From what we understand right now, there is no reason that strontium vanadate could not replace ITO in the same equipment currently used in industry."

And if that mass production process works, there's no reason to limit strontium vanadate to phone displays. You could create large-scale smart windows that replace display boards, and the metal could even be a substitute for developing cheaper solar cells. Whatever happens, you'll literally be seeing a lot more of this metal in the future.

Source: Science Alert

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I think the biggest benefit of this at the moment will definitely be much cheaper phones/TV's. 40% discount on a new Samsung Galaxy S? Yes, please.

Is that cost listed as the cost to manufacture a phone, or the selling price of the phone? (Before any plan prices come into effect)

Very big difference I'd think, given how much research goes into making these phones that needs to be reflected in the final price.

Xeorm:
Is that cost listed as the cost to manufacture a phone, or the selling price of the phone? (Before any plan prices come into effect)

Very big difference I'd think, given how much research goes into making these phones that needs to be reflected in the final price.

Savings are savings no matter where they come from, and I wouldn't be disappointed either way. I'm more excited about the potential applications of this new material, as stated in the article.

This seems appropriate:

I'll, uh...see myself out.

Fanghawk:
a transparent metal stronger and cheaper than what's currently on the market

And not one penny saved will end up being saved by the end user, or go to the labour force it employs...

FoolKiller:

Fanghawk:
a transparent metal stronger and cheaper than what's currently on the market

And not one penny saved will end up being saved by the end user, or go to the labour force it employs...

Indeed. If capitalism were kept in check and not turned into corporatism then upstarts could have a chance to establish themselves without fear of major corporation buyouts and lawyers, both legal and patent ones, and in doing so would force others to adapt to the new lower prices.

From my non-expert point of view at least, but someone could probably correct me on this.

OT: Science! Raw science is always amazing to behold and every knowledge gleaned is a step forward.
Time to invest in some raw material stocks perhaps. ,)

FoolKiller:

Fanghawk:
a transparent metal stronger and cheaper than what's currently on the market

And not one penny saved will end up being saved by the end user, or go to the labour force it employs...

What's the basis for this assertion?

Over the past decade electronics have, due in large part to innovation in technology and manufacturing, consistently either fallen in price (for example flat screen TVs, computers and laptops) or maintained a roughly flat price point while offering consumers considerably more for their money (for example smartphones).

Yeah there will always be exceptions like Apple peddling sub-par products for an ever increasing price premium, but that's what happens when you have a large number of consumers who blindly spend money for a particular brand name rather than any cost/quality consideration. In these terms you may as well consider Apple a fashion brand - people are paying for the name not the product.

Transparent Aluminium, Alon (Aluminium Oxynitride) has been around for ages, just look it up on wikipedia if you must. Scotty (tragically) didn't invent it.

Vigormortis:
This seems appropriate:

True.
If they don't patent this stuff as "Scottinium" it will be a wasted opportunity.

Wow. Thanks for the reminder of how much more active this site's userbase was four years ago. What drove everyone off? Was it the captchas that force you to parrot back corporate catchphrases every single fucking time you want to post? I bet it was.

TallanKhan:
Yeah there will always be exceptions like Apple peddling sub-par products for an ever increasing price premium, but that's what happens when you have a large number of consumers who blindly spend money for a particular brand name rather than any cost/quality consideration. In these terms you may as well consider Apple a fashion brand - people are paying for the name not the product.

Well, that and Apple also runs the only mobile platform with any real quality control. Google Play is notoriously full of malware masquerading as legit apps, there are so many brands and models that run Android that getting a good one is as much of a crapshoot as it is with a Windows PC, and if something doesn't work, you're basically SOL because it's not Google's problem. I can put up with those kinds of issues on a real computer, because the nice big screen and real keyboard make it easy to root around under the hood when things go south, plus the only alternative is a platform that virtually nobody makes software for, but when you're dealing with a tiny little smartphone, there's an incentive to get something that Just Works™.

Steve the Pocket:
Wow. Thanks for the reminder of how much more active this site's userbase was four years ago. What drove everyone off? Was it the captchas that force you to parrot back corporate catchphrases every single fucking time you want to post? I bet it was.

I suspect a number of things are responsible, although your example is probably one of the worst offenders and is one of the major reasons I frequent the Escapist much less often now. Basically, I think people started jumping ship in a big way when they felt they were being treated with contempt rather than as welcome participants in an online community. In my mind the tide turned when Jim Sterling made a (utterly fantastic) video about [Prohibited subject] and the Escapist offered assurances that people wouldn't be penalised for discussing it in the comments then promptly banned and suspended dozens of users.

Steve the Pocket:

TallanKhan:
Yeah there will always be exceptions like Apple peddling sub-par products for an ever increasing price premium, but that's what happens when you have a large number of consumers who blindly spend money for a particular brand name rather than any cost/quality consideration. In these terms you may as well consider Apple a fashion brand - people are paying for the name not the product.

Well, that and Apple also runs the only mobile platform with any real quality control. Google Play is notoriously full of malware masquerading as legit apps, there are so many brands and models that run Android that getting a good one is as much of a crapshoot as it is with a Windows PC, and if something doesn't work, you're basically SOL because it's not Google's problem. I can put up with those kinds of issues on a real computer, because the nice big screen and real keyboard make it easy to root around under the hood when things go south, plus the only alternative is a platform that virtually nobody makes software for, but when you're dealing with a tiny little smartphone, there's an incentive to get something that Just Works?.

I don't disagree with you're point but to be honest, if someone is willing to pay $100+ price premium so that they don't have to go through the arduous process of Googling an App before downloading it, or reading a review for a handset before buying it, then it's basically an idiot surcharge and I'm pretty OK with that.

TallanKhan:
[quote="Steve the Pocket" post="7.931832.23444405"]In my mind the tide turned when Jim Sterling made a (utterly fantastic) video about [Prohibited subject] and the Escapist offered assurances that people wouldn't be penalised for discussing it in the comments then promptly banned and suspended dozens of users.

I must be losing my memory, because the only [prohibited subject] I'm aware of is one that Jim himself wasn't allowed to talk about on this site.

Fanghawk:
It turns out most consist of indium tin oxide, a less-than-ideal metal which eats up to 40 percent of smartphone and tablet costs.

Haha, no. It does not cost 40 percent of smartphone or tablet costs. In fact a new screen can be purchased and installed yourself. the screen itself costs less than 50 dollars, whereas most smartphones are 300 and above, meaning its most definatelly less than 20% of the costs. especially on high end models.

TallanKhan:

Over the past decade electronics have, due in large part to innovation in technology and manufacturing, consistently either fallen in price (for example flat screen TVs, computers and laptops) or maintained a roughly flat price point while offering consumers considerably more for their money (for example smartphones).

Yeah there will always be exceptions like Apple peddling sub-par products for an ever increasing price premium, but that's what happens when you have a large number of consumers who blindly spend money for a particular brand name rather than any cost/quality consideration. In these terms you may as well consider Apple a fashion brand - people are paying for the name not the product.

Well, Flat Screen TVs remained low resolution and expensive for TWO DECADES because of illegal cartels from manufacturers.. There is much reason to believe that if they can, they will keep prices artificially high. It is only after this cartel was disbanded that TVs actually started falling in price and finally caught up with what CRTs did two decades ago.

Steve the Pocket:

I must be losing my memory, because the only [prohibited subject] I'm aware of is one that Jim himself wasn't allowed to talk about on this site.

the video in question

Steve the Pocket:

TallanKhan:
[quote="Steve the Pocket" post="7.931832.23444405"]In my mind the tide turned when Jim Sterling made a (utterly fantastic) video about [Prohibited subject] and the Escapist offered assurances that people wouldn't be penalised for discussing it in the comments then promptly banned and suspended dozens of users.

I must be losing my memory, because the only [prohibited subject] I'm aware of is one that Jim himself wasn't allowed to talk about on this site.

You can find the video I was referring to here

Good. Now, we can make anything with a touchscreen shatter-proof. That IS what you want it for, RIGHT?

a transparent metal stronger and cheaper! it is very interesting! But by the time that such a product is available to the general public, we will have already changed our screens with reality helmets increased.

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