“Man-made sapphire could replace Gorilla Glass as the material of choice for scratch-and-crack-resistant mobile phone screens in the near future, according to a recent speculative piece from MIT Technology Review,” Tim Worstall reports for The Register.
“Having had a little wander around the relevant places and a few chats with people who would know, I’d say that it’s actually not just possible but highly likely,” Worstall reports. “I’ve been kibbitzing with the various sapphire and silicon guys I meet while huntin’ slags and the general view is that, yes, the silicon model is exactly the way the industry will develop. It isn’t exactly the same, of course, but it’s close enough that we can use it as an analogy.”
“As the sapphire is made in ever fatter ingots, the price per kg will come down. Currently, at least with the pieces I’ve seen, it’s about the shape and size of the sort of candle you might put on a dinner table. In the coming years we all expect it to get wider and wider, as silicon has done, fattening to the girth of a fat candle carried in the church parade all the way up to the ‘elephant’s tampon girth’ of current silicon ingots. We would also expect production costs to come down as they have with silicon: perhaps not a 10x reduction, but no one can see why a 3x or 4x wouldn’t be achievable,” Worstall reports, “And at $10 and under for a screen, most think that sapphire would be competitive with Gorilla Glass at its $3. After all, the sapphire is some three times stronger, three times less likely to crack if dropped, and three times harder to scratch.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Coincidentally, “Elephant’s Tampon” is the codename for Windows 9.
iPhone 6. Sapphire and Liquidmetal. Coming Autumn 2013. (Hey, we can dream, right?)