Apple has secured a patent for a display material with self-healing properties. It could be used in future foldable smartphones like the iPhone. The material has been reported to help displays recover from scratches and dents, and could be an important technology leading up to foldable smartphones. Currently, Samsung has the largest share of foldable smartphones globally and it uses a special material to protect foldable displays from external elements and provide them with durability.
According to a Report A layer of self-healing material can be incorporated into the display cover layer of a folding iDevice, patented by Apple. It can be made from elastomer. The layer can be present either in the flexible region of the cover display or on the full display. The report also states that the self-healing material layer can self-heal without prompting.
This may mean that when the cover layer is dented or scratched, the self-healing material incorporated in the cover layer can heal the anomaly without external intervention from the user. The report also notes that “self-healing can be initiated or accelerated by externally applied heat, light, electric current, or other forms of external stimulation.”
For example, let’s assume the situation when the cover layer of the above-mentioned iDevice is damaged by a scratch or dent. To provide a seamless tactile experience, the cover layer should be without inconsistencies. A layer of self-healing material can use heat as a stimulus for the self-healing process. “The heating layer can be used to generate heat in response to user input, on a predetermined schedule, or while an electronic device is charging,” the report states.
It is also mentioned that the display cover layer may also include a transparent dielectric layer with slits. Slits can be filled with index-matching content. In the flexible part, these slits can help increase the flexibility of the display cover layer.