Finding ways to cram more technology into the same materials is something I’m keenly aware of. Recently we’ve heard about Intel’s allow ink that can allow sensors to be etched into the toughest conditions – jet engines for instance. While the latest iteration of Corning’s Gorilla Glass offers a layer of scratch resistance and enhances the durability of your screen, future versions may feature built-in sensors that can gauge temperature and provide an authentication security system.
Polytechnique Montreal researchers found that Corning’s Gorilla Glass was an exceptional host for three dimensional waveguides, which when inserted beneath the Gorilla Glass layer can measure minute changes in light. The sensors are invisible to the naked eye, and since they’re etched using a laser in three dimensions, they can be stacked one over the other. Say hello to transparent electronics!
The temperature sensor that was used is called a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, which measures the way glass deforms under heat to estimate the temperature as light passes through the waveguide.
The researches also demonstrated the security applications of this technology by inducing a unique waveguide beneath the glass, which acts as a unique identifier for a device. If a manufacturer were to add a unique pattern for each device, it would make device cloning a thing of the past.
While the research team included a Corning researcher, there doesn’t seem to be any official plan to include these laser etched sensors into future versions of Gorilla Glass. That being said, the team at Polytechnique Montreal is dedicated in bringing this technology to consumer gadgets, and has stated that they’re looking for manufacturers that would be interested in utilising this technology.