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Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) in Touch Screens 2015-08-25
Touch screens are everywhere. In our pockets, on our cash points, built into the seat-backs on transatlantic aircraft and even on obscure things like touch screen guitars.
 
Indium Tin Oxide (or tin-doped indium oxide) is particularly important to the world's dominant smart phone and tablet manufacturers because of its unique material properties perfect for touch screen applications:
 
·High conductivity
·Easily mass produced as thin films
·Optically transparent.
 
Essentially in the majority of the latest smart phones and tablets - ITO forms the conductive layer used to monitor the changes in electrical state as you touch and swipe the screen. In its thinnest form, ITO is both transparent and highly conductive which has resulted in ITO being one of the world most popular and widely used transparent conducting oxides. It is also reasonably easy to handle and deposit ITO as a thin film which makes it perfect for mass production using techniques such as physical vapor deposition, sputtering or evaporation methods.
 
However, Houston we may have a problem... Indium the main element of ITO is becoming more and more expensive and there are even recent reports in the media that we may, one day run out. As unlikely as this is (according to the Indium Corporation, we have plenty of reserves), it is still an extremely topical subject for designers of the smartphones and tablets of tomorrow.



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