No More Scratches with Sapphire Mobile Screens

March 5, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Gorilla Glass is tough. Gorilla Glass 2 is tougher. But Sapphire screen  is virtually indestructible.

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2013 had a stall that showed off the strength of the Sapphire screen. It can apparently withstand almost all damages that might occur to one’s phone in everyday life.

But is it commercially viable? At this point of time, the answer is no. It is indeed many times tougher than current scratch-resistant glasses, but it is also much more expensive. However, rugged phones and high-end designer phones can make use of this screen.

saphire

Currently, handsets that feature the supposedly durable screens sell for over $10,000, but the word is that sapphire screen production is ramping up. Sapphire’s toughness already features on a small scale in at least one smartphone.

It protects the rear-facing camera lens on the iPhone 5. The Sapphire screen is also excellent at transmitting light and it won’t buckle or melt in high temperatures. Of the many reasons for its high price, one is that it takes 16 days and a furnace at 2,200 degrees Celsius to create a 250-pound block of synthetic sapphire.

GT Advanced Technologies garnered a lot of publicity with its stall at the MWC. The demonstrations were compelling, and the science seems to back it up. Sapphire is a naturally growing crystal and is the second hardest substance on earth. It’s so hard, only diamond-tipped saws can cut it.

GT Advanced grows sapphire and then melts and hardens them into ‘boules,’ which are 115 kilogram, or 254 lb. clear cylinders. These cylinders are then cut into cubes, which are then chopped up into slices and shapes depending on its use.

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