“For years, Gorilla Glass was the toughest material a mobile device could use to protect its delicate display components,” Christina Bonnington reports for Wired. “A mix of silicon dioxide, aluminum, sodium, and magnesium, Corning’s scratch-resistant composite material was the gold standard in protecting a smartphone’s display against breakage. But starting around mid-2013, a new option became visible: sapphire.”
“While more expensive to produce than Gorilla Glass, sapphire is significantly tougher,” Bonnington reports. “It’s up to three times stronger; diamond is the only material hard enough to nick it. Apple was widely rumored to be moving to sapphire displays in its mobile devices, particularly after the Cupertino company partnered with GT Advanced Technologies in the construction of a Mesa, Arizona sapphire production plant.”
“That arrangement didn’t pan out. Sapphire didn’t make it into the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus as reported (other than in its camera lens), and the factory was repurposed after GT Advanced filed for bankruptcy,” Bonnington reports. “Even though sapphire never made it into the iPhone’s display, between interest in the new material and its maturation in the market, we’re now seeing sapphire on a growing number of mobile products.”
Read more in the full article here.