Oleophobic Coatings on Cellphone Screens

Can’t wait to get my hands on my new, shiny, unblemished phone I just picked up at the store. With this new investment, I decided to purchase a screen protector as I’ve done for my previous phones. The protector gives me peace of mind but also provides an added benefit. Have you noticed, with a new screen protector, your fingers tend to glide seamlessly on the smooth screen, barely leaving a smudge or fingerprint? This magic comes from a thin film on the screen protector called an oleophobic coating.

What is an oleophobic coating?

An oleophobic coating is a thin film coating to help prevent fingerprints on a surface. It has properties that reject oil, keeping the screen clean and smudge free. The coating is mainly used on devices with glass such as phones, laptops, touchscreens and more. Unfortunately, oleophobic coatings are fragile and tend to wear down with time and usage. Over time, you’ll notice a difference in the amount of oil left on your protector which can potentially affect the efficiency of how your fingers glide on the surface.

Using TOF-SIMS to Characterize Surface Coatings

One of our surface analysis techniques, Time-of-Flight Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (TOF-SIMS), can be used to characterize the

Oleophobic Coatings on Cellphone Screens

surface coatings on screens and to compare the thickness of the coatings using depth profiles. In one of our case studies, we compared a new screen protector to a screen protector that had been exposed to UV light for a week. Our data confirmed that UV exposure caused a significant thinning of the oleophobic coating, hence affecting its performance.

TOF-SIMS scientist

Eurofins EAG has unmatched expertise in surface analysis. In addition to TOF-SIMS, other surface analysis techniques offered are Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) and X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS). We can help with your surface analysis needs throughout the product lifecycle, from development to failure analysis. Contact us today to learn how we can help you on your next project.

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