Hard As Nails: The Current State of Scratch-Resistant Sensors

Electronic sensors have been a part of technology for decades. However, they’re more sophisticated and much more ubiquitous than they’ve ever been before. You can hardly roll out of bed in the morning without the use of a high-tech sensor. For example, several popular sleeping apps, like the Sleep Cycle app, use your smartphone’s internal sensors to detect movement and sleep patterns in order to wake you up when you’re in your lightest sleeping cycle.

Increasing sensitivity and detection capabilities have been chief drivers in the sensor’s evolution, but with the explosion of touch screens and wearable technology, another challenge has become apparent: durability. As the sensors in touch screens and wearable tech are escaping their internal casings and becoming exposed to everyday elements, they must be constructed to weather almost anything the user encounters on a regular basis, all while providing accurate and undistorted sensing capabilities.

For example, Apple has successfully packaged highly responsive touch-screen sensor technology with a durable package in the Apple Watch. By using sapphire glass (which ranks almost as hard as a diamond on the Mohs hardness scale) and sophisticated back-end processes, Apple was able to produce a responsive, sensitive yet durable, scratch-resistant sensor for its flagship wearable product.

It’s not just the material, however, that holds the keys to the future development of sensor durability. The coating and front-end processes will also allow exposed sensors to remain sensitive and accurate. Brewer Science offers an anti-scratch coating that can be used in various applications. The coating registers at a >9H pencil hardness and will remain highly transparent and chemical resistant. Not only can it greatly enhance the durability of new sensors if applied, it will do so at a much lower cost.

Sensors are used in everything from smartphones and wearable technology to hospital equipment and factory machinery. As they become more durable and responsive, cost-efficient manufacturing processes will continue to be important. Contact Brewer Science to learn more about our anti-scratch coating and how we can be a part of your solution.

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