Chemists at the University of California, Riverside, have invented a new self-healing smartphone display material that is able to heal itself, possibly fixing one of the most troublesome problems that smartphone owners could face with their devices.
The scientists who invented the new display material, which is made of a stretchable polymer and an ionic salt, conducted several trials to test the self-healing capabilities of the material including tearing it in half and found it took less than 24 hours for it to stitch itself back together.
The material is able to perform this seemingly miraculous self-healing due to the presence of ion-dipole interactions – a unique type of bond found within the material. The bond is resultant from an electrostatic attraction between charge ions and polar molecules.
The attraction force created between the molecules and ions work to fill in voids created by tears or cracks in the display.
While self-healing materials aren’t exactly new, the one invented by these scientists is the first capable of conducting electricity, which makes it perfectly suitable for smartphone displays.
According to Chao Wang, one of the scientists leading the research, self-healing smartphone displays won’t become commercially available right away but he believes that they’ll begin showing up on smartphones by 2020.