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Foldable Phones Could Use Diamond Coating on Screens

Credit: Angela Lang/CNET

Diamonds are a screen’s best friend.

This time last year, foldable phones were supposed to be the next hot thing. Unfortunately, when Samsung’s Galaxy Fold began its early dry run, numerous users reported screens flexing, bending, and folding like origami (in ways they weren’t supposed to, I mean). After some alleged fixes, the phone was launched in earnest in September, but the reception was lukewarm at best, with only a few hundred thousand Galaxy Folds sold to date. The initial floppy-screen problems definitely left a bad taste in many a mouth, with those users swearing not to buy a folding phone until the kinks are worked out. A certain specialized electronics company might have the solution Samsung (and quite a few other developers) needs.

Electronics company Akhan Semiconductor is developing a specialized nano-coating for smartphones made from one of the toughest materials on Earth: Diamond. The company manufactures nano-diamonds in a lab setting, which are then sprayed onto the surface of a folding phone screen. The resulting layer is only 1/10,00th as thick as a strand of human hair, and yet it retains the tensile strength of its composite diamonds. Best of all, due to its semi-solid nature, it can flex and bend right along with the screen (but only in the ways it’s supposed to).

Regular glass or plastic hasn’t been cutting it for folding phone screens. They’re either not flexible enough, or not strong enough to protect the phone’s fragile innards from the elements. With this sparkly spray, even the flimsiest plastic can become an unflappable bastion of strength. If they have this tech as a lynchpin, foldable phones could very well become the next big thing they were always intended to be.