C3Nano Patents Low-Reflectivity Flexible Transparent Conductors
Patent Effectively Blocks Other AgNW-based Film Manufacturers from Meeting Top-Tier Device Makers’ Requirements
HAYWARD, CA – October 30, 2019 – C3Nano Inc., the world’s performance leader in silver nanowire (AgNW)-based transparent conductive inks and films used in flexible displays, touchscreens and other products, announced today that it has received a US patent for the use of low-reflectivity AgNW-based films in display technology. The new patent, number US 10,438,714, protects C3Nano’s composition of matter and process of producing transparent conductive display films that meet top-tier device makers’ requirements for off-state blackness and sensor optics. C3Nano is also in the process of patenting this invention in multiple other significantly relevant international jurisdictions.
Device makers have long used Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) in their touchscreens because devices employing ITO show desirable optical attributes such as a deep black when the device is off and minimal pattern visibility. But as they strive to develop next-generation devices with foldable, flexible displays, they must utilize new materials because ITO is too brittle and flexing causes device failure. AgNW-based transparent conductors are recognized as the best material to replace ITO for flexible applications.
Other makers of AgNW-based transparent conductor technologies cannot match ITO’s blackness and low diffuse reflectivity—the material tends to look milky and “whitish,” especially in the off-state. These detrimental optical deficiencies have precluded use of AgNW transparent conductors in Tier 1 devices. However, C3Nano’s newest generation (Gen 7) of inks and films show the lowest reflectivity for flexible transparent conductors required for high-end consumer electronics. C3Nano has demonstrated that its latest materials achieve deep black in off-state conditions and has patent-protected this technology. This means device manufacturers can now implement C3Nano’s AgNW-based materials (ActiveGrid™) to create flexible touch sensors for foldable displays while maintaining the optical characteristics of ITO, which consumers expect.
In order to reduce the reflectivity and haze, the AgNW diameters must be reduced. However, as the AgNWs become thinner and optically superior, the junction and overall film resistance dramatically increase. C3Nano is the only company which can mitigate this critical issue because of its key NanoGlue® technology, which fuses ultrathin nanowires in order to achieve the optimal performance for AgNW-based transparent conductors. C3Nano’s NanoGlue enables lower reflectivity, deeper black, and greater sharpness in the display.
“Reflectivity is one of the key barriers to adoption of metal AgNW-based materials in foldable and flexible displays, and with this patent, C3Nano appears to have surmounted that barrier,” said Vladimir Roznyatovskiy, PhD, senior research analyst at Lux Research, Inc. “This patent helps ensure that C3Nano can protect its technology.”
“Unquestionably, AgNW-based transparent conductors are significantly more flexible than ITO, but matching the optical properties of ITO has been a major challenge,” said Ajay Virkar, PhD, CTO of C3Nano. “However, recently customers and Tier 1 end-users have made sensors and end devices using our Gen 7 ActiveGrid material and have confirmed that its optical properties match the highest quality ITO while remaining flexible and passing all reliability requirements. We believe this fundamental composition of matter IP strengthens not only our position, but also that of our supply chain partners and customers as we work together to provide the best technology for the flexible consumer electronics market.”