Huge Development in Consumer Electronics Market: Newly Developed Material Could Be a Cost-Effective Alternative for Indium

Posted On August 13, 2021     

Indium is extremely expensive and is also hard to source as it occurs in very small deposits. Although a very small amount of it is required to manufacture smart device screens, as it is not a feasible ingredient to be used. Further, Industrial indium is usually a by-product of Zinc mining, denoting that it could easily become scarce if demand for optoelectronic devices (LCDs and touch panels) augments. Thus, there is a high requirement for a solution before the situation actually arises.
 
A new research study could potentially solve the problem as the team has developed a cost-effective and easily available technology with the ability to dim screens used in smart architectural windows, electronic devices, and anti-reflection automobile mirrors. The innovation would be a huge contribution to the Consumer Electronics market. It could be an amazing alternative to indium, a highly ubiquitous material. 

The team stated that their newly developed material is plasma-generated and hybrid-nanocomposite. Further, it is completely free of indium, making it a low-cost, feasible, and environmentally sound solution as an electrochromic technology. It has the ability to make glass dim at the press of a button or a touch on the screen.
 
They revealed that the material comprises tungsten oxide plus silver and can be used to coat any sort of solid surface, even flexible plastics. It comes into the category of fourth state matter, “plasma,” and is created by adding energy to the gas. Generally, plasma is widely seen in fluorescent light bulbs, television and computer screens, and neon signs.
 
Whenever the transparency is changed in a wearable electronic or a smart window, it is enabled through the use of an electromagnetic device. For a long time, this job has been catered by indium. However, that might soon change with the new study. This is because the new technology can dim the screens for a minimal amount in comparison to the technology used at present. The novel plasma coatings are transparent as well as electrically conductive. They are built by use of a layer of silver that is around 10,000 times thinner than a human hair. The team placed the layer in-between two nano-thin layers made of tungsten oxide, further decorated with silver nanoparticles. The coatings could be applicable for smartphones, electronic papers, and glass windows as they can be dimmed through a small electrical current.
 
The research team believed that their development is nothing short of a manufactures dream as they can now successfully remove indium and all the cost additions related to it and instead used a cost-efficient and environmentally sound three-layered structure that does the same task.

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