Most of us know Corning as the maker of Gorilla Glass, the super tough glass that's become an almost ubiquitous feature when it comes large-screened smartphones of today. Usually focused on all things tough and scratch resistant, Corning is today taking things in a different direction with the unveiling of Willow Glass, a new flexible solution aimed at ultra slim designs.
Corning says that, as well as its use in slimmer display designs, the company says the strength and flexibility means we could also see Willow Glass used in curved or wraparound displays. Willow Glass can be processed at temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius, which opens up the possibility of high-temperature, continuous 'roll-to-roll' processes. Corning says these have so far been impossible. Additionally, thanks to advancements in fusion forming, they can make glass that measures just 100 microns thick, or about as thick as a regular sheet of copy paper.
"Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner. Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor," said Dr. Dipak Chowdhury, division vice president and Willow Glass program director. "Currently manufacturing in a sheet-to-sheet process, we expect Corning Willow Glass to eventually allow customers to switch to high-throughput, efficient roll-to-roll processing, a long-awaited industry milestone."
Corning says Willow Glass is initially being launched as an advanced display substrate, however, the company is also actively working on other uses for the glass, such as in lighting and flexible solar cells. Samples of Willow Glass are shipping to companies developing new display and touch applications but full production won't begin for a while.