Sabic Innovative Plastics has co-developed what it claims to be the first transparent, conductive polycarbonate film.
Sabic collaborated with Cima NanoTech of Singapore to come up with a PC film coated with silver nanoparticles that the companies predict will open new design and manufacturing possibilities in consumer electronics, healthcare, automotive and architecture.
Sabic says previous attempts to get clear, conductive PC have been thwarted by the use of conductive fillers that affect PC's mechanical properties and transparency. As a result, many touch-screen applications rely on a coating of indium tin oxide on a glass substrate.
The new Sabic PC film can be wet coated in a roll-to-roll process using Cima NanoTech's Sante technology. Sabic Innovative Plastics director of marketing for consumer electronics Matt Gray says the new coated PC film can be flexed, is lightweight and impact resistant. It is scratch resistant, 83-87 percent transparent and has conductivity that meets specifications for touch screens, even those larger than 20 inches.
Sabic initially will focus on consumer electronics applications with film from 75 microns to 5 millimeters thick.
Specific end-uses envisioned include faster-response touch screens, transparent anti-fogging automotive windows, better EMI shielding in electronics and transparent WiFi/Bluetooth antennas for mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, laptops and all-in-one computers.
Cima NanoTech's Sante conductive coating is a wet dispersion of silver nanoparticles, water, solvents and chemical binders. During rapid drying of the coating, the nanoparticles form interconnected, micron-size lines with a dense array of random nanoscale pores. The company uses its Sante technology to make and sell specialty conductive PET films.
Sabic is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Sabic Innovative Plastics has a U.S. office in Pittsfield, Mass.