Hardware News, atomic layer, filming, Science, smartphones, Technology, waterproof — November 15, 2013 0:25 — 0 Comments
Atomic layer developed to waterproof smartphones
Want to get some great underwater footage on your mobile? A new film has been developed to protect your device in aquatic conditions
Budding Jacques Cousteaus of the smartphone movie making world, take note: researchers have developed a new way of waterproofing electronic components that means they can be immersed in water for days without being damaged.
By adding a protective layer of gaseous atoms from a metal like aluminium, they form an ‘atomic layer’ over the electronics which is then oxidised. This oxide layer, which is only 10 nanometres thick – around 6,000 times thinner than the width of a human hair – prevents water from getting to the sensitive electronics underneath.
The breakthrough is impervious to air or water, and scientists claim that devices can be left submerged in salt water for months without being harmed – conditions that would destroy normal electronics.
Professor Samuel Graham at the Georgia Institute of Technology, who has led the research, said the film was stable in warm damp conditions and a number of liquids.
“By creating such barriers films, we are able to extend lifetime and reliability of electronic devices, ” he said.
Most electronic devices such as mobile phones have films that are sprayed onto electronic components to protect them from water vapour in the air and make them splash resistant.
However, these can add bulk to components and tiny imperfections in the way these are created can allow water to get through, meaning they are not totally waterproof, says Richard Gray, science correspondent of The Daily Telegraph.
In one recent study, professor Graham submerged electronic sensors in water for 10 days after coating them in the atomic film.
The coatings can also be transparent, meaning they can also be used in electronic displays like those found on smartphones, allowing ordinary cameras and mobile phones to be used underwater without coming to any harm.