June 18, 2013
As the consumer electronic market evolves manufacturers and industrial designers are looking for new and better ways to increase the performance of their devices while also making them thinner, lighter, and less expensive. One of the fastest growing approaches in the optical display industry to this trend is addressing display substrates with polymers coated with transparent conductive material or Indium Tin Oxide.
Indium Tin Oxide is a transparent conductive oxide that is deposited on to clear display substrates in order to increase their conductivity. Applying a clear conductive coating to display substrates is mandatory in numerous applications. Among the most popular applications utilizing this technology are, touch-screen displays, and EMI/RFI shielded displays. This technology was first developed and utilized exclusively for glass applications, as the deposition parameters of Indium Tin Oxide require temperatures that exceed 190° C in order to achieve low sheet resistance and good optical clarity.
As thin-film coating service providers have become more familiar with the intricacies of depositing ITO a few select companies have developed “cold” or room temperature deposition methods that rival the performance of high-heat deposited ITO coatings. This development opens up a host of applications that in the past were not possible due to substrate limitations. North American Coating Laboratories is among this group of coating service providers that has used its nearly 40 years of thin-film deposition experience to develop this exciting offering.
While the design and development of both thin-film coatings and consumer electronics rapidly advances, it is safe to assume that the need for high performance transparent conductive oxides on polymer based substrates will increase exponentially.