A company claims to have bested Corning's ultra-tough smartphone display tech with diamond-reinforced glass that's nearly four times as crack-resistant and seven times more scratch-proof than Gorilla Glass.
Corning's glass technology has been faithfully protecting our smartphones from life's inadvertent mishaps for years now. It introduced its new Gorilla Glass 5 on 21 July, which it claims can survive drops from up 1.6 metres and will allow smartphones to withstand up to 80% of face-down drops onto hard surfaces.
The US-based company has gone relatively unchallenged in this arena for a while now, although it seems as if another company is now vying for this lucrative territory.
According to Mashable, US company Akhan Semiconductor has developed a glass product "considerable stronger" and 800 times thinner than Gorilla Glass 5, achieved by covering standard UV glass with synthetic diamonds.
The company calls its product Akhan Miraj NCD diamond, which admittedly isn't quite as catchy as Gorilla Glass.
Akhan claims its diamond-coated glass is even tougher than sapphire, an ultra-tough material that is receiving growing attention from electronics companies as a means of protecting their gadgets. While it has seen some use – Apple used sapphire in the iWatch, for example −it's expensive to mass-produce. It is a gemstone, after all.
Meanwhile, Akhan claims its product is far cheaper and quicker to mass-produce. It does this through a method known as chemical vapour deposition, during which layers of diamond are "grown" on top of glass using microwave radiation.
Not only is it tough and thin, but it is also flexible. The company reckons its glass can be bent up to 45 degrees without breaking, making it a potential candidate for these flexible smartwatches and smartphones we've heard so much about but have yet to actually see.
Arkhan told Mashable that it estimates being able to manufacture its Miraj NCD diamond glass at scale within a year. The company is now on the hunt for licensees and hasn't ruled out Corning as a potential partner, so it looks as if Gorilla Glass is safe from being dropped for the time being.