Samsung advances its dominance of the graphene touch screen sector with a patent to protect the use of graphene networks in capacitive touch screens.
US patent number 8390589, published today, describes the use of a network of nanostructures as the conductive layer of a touch screen. The nanostructures could include carbon nanotubes, nanowires, nanoparticles and/or graphene flakes. Graphene and other nanostructures are being studied as possible replacements for the costly indium tin oxide (ITO) in touch screens, which also has a disadvantage of being brittle, making it unsuitable for flexible touch screens. A network of graphene nanostructures provides an inexpensive alternative, which is also flexible and stretchable.
The idea of using graphene in flexible touch screens is not new. Samsung itself has other patents related to the idea, however the most recent one covers a broad ground and might put Samsung at a significant advantage in the near future. The ability to provide inexpensive touch screens would allow for cheap smartphones, of which the screen is currently the most expensive component.
Experimental results shown in the patent indicate a highly transparent, strongly conducting device, with reduced glare compared to alternative screens.