CES 2014: Corning Announces Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass to Fight Germs on Mobile Devices
Following its announcement late last week regarding new "3D" curved Gorilla Glass for smartphones and other products, Apple's glass supplier Corning today officially announced its antimicrobial Gorilla Glass, incorporating ionic silver into the glass to inhibit growth of bacteria and other organisms.
“Corning’s Antimicrobial Gorilla Glass inhibits the growth of algae, mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria because of its built-in antimicrobial property, which is intrinsic to the glass and effective for the lifetime of a device,” said James R. Steiner, senior vice president and general manager, Corning Specialty Materials. “This innovation combines best-in-class antimicrobial function without compromising Gorilla Glass properties. Our specialty glass provides an excellent substrate for engineering antimicrobial and other functional attributes to help expand the capabilities of our Corning Gorilla Glass and address the needs of new markets.”
The new antimicrobial Gorilla Glass will be included in a new version of Steelcase's RoomWizard conference room scheduling device, which is being shown at CES this week in Las Vegas, and the company says that it is working with "numerous manufacturers" to develop applications for the material. The company has also demonstrated that it can produce antimicrobial Gorilla Glass in high volumes needed for popular products such as the iPhone.
Last year, Corning noted that it was working on antimicrobial technology as part of a feature arguing that Gorilla Glass 3 is a superior material compared to sapphire, which has been gaining attention as a potential future display covering. Late last year, it was revealed that Apple had reached an agreement with GT Advanced Technologies to develop a sapphire glass manufacturing facility in Arizona, with Apple building out the plant and GT Advanced operating it. Apple currently uses sapphire to cover the rear camera on several of its recent iOS devices and for the Touch ID fingerprint sensor on the iPhone 5s, but it appears that Apple may be looking to significantly expand the use of sapphire in its products.
Amid the increased talk of sapphire as a possible replacement for Gorilla Glass in future mobile devices, Corning is clearly continuing to push its technology forward, with the new techniques for curving the glass allowing for innovative new product designs and antimicrobial properties serving as another selling point for device manufacturers and consumers. Corning is also working on next-generation flexible "Willow Glass", but the company has indicated that it will be several years before that product can make its way into mobile device display assemblies.