A New Transparent Metal For Smartphone Display

Everybody like a new technology cellphones that comes out every month. But the price on these monsters are even more monstrous then the product itself and everyone doesn’t have the financial situation to change there phones every month as the technology comes out.

transparent metal

But how about if I tell you that in few months you might able to change to the nest upcoming mobile phones that too which are in your budget? You don’t believe me? read on…

The main cost of the mobile phones we consumer use is the display screen. The problem with current displays is that they’re based on indium tin oxide (ITO) and in the past decade, the cost of ITO has jumped all over the place, from US$200/kg in 2004 to more than $1,000/kg in 2006, then back down to between $400 and $750/kg in recent years. ITO now contributes upto 40% of the cost of a smartphone or tablet, and while the cost of memory chips and processors continues to drop. The materials used to build the screens and displays is whats holding us back from developing bigger and better technologies.

transparent metal

To counter this situation researchers at Pennsylvania State University have been working on something to replace indium tin oxide (ITO), and they’ve managed to match its optical transparency, electrical conductivity, and efficiency of manufacture in a strange new class of material called ‘Correlated Metal‘ and at less than 5 percent the cost of current displays, it could help create far more cheaper smartphones in our pockets and enormous ‘smart windows’ in our homes.

Led by engineer Roman Engel-Herbert, the team developed 10-namometre-thick films of correlated metal, which are characterized by their unique molecular structure. While in most metals, the electrons flow like a gas cloud but in correlated metals they move more like a liquid which allows the material to change phases depending on how it’s used.

transparent metal


The researchers believe that while ITO can cost up to US$750/Kg, they can produce correlated metals like strontium vanadate and calcium vanadate far more cheaply as the base materials are more abundantly distributed in Earth’s crust making is easy available and far more cheaper then the ITO.

Here is a image issued by the researchers to explain the correlated metals and their properties:

transparent metal


Published in Nature Materials is the description by the researchers about how their material retains its conductivity while shifting phases when exposed to light.

According to Engel-herbert:

transparent metal

“Our correlated metals work really well compared to ITO, When you shine light on it, it becomes less reflective, thus much more transparent. Now, the question is how to implement these new materials into a large-scale manufacturing process. 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.”

The team has already applied for a patent on their technology, and believe that their material could even be used to develop cheaper solar cells in the future. We here at engineering pal wishes the team best of luck and are eagerly waiting for the metal to be used soon as who doesn’t like a new upgraded mobile phones.