Corning Inc., the manufacturer behind Gorilla Glass, Gorilla Glass 2, and other display products, just announced a new ultra-slim, flexible glass called “Willow Glass“.

The Corning, N.Y.-based Company introduced its technology at the Society for Information Display’s Display Week tradeshow in Boston this morning. The main highlight is its ability to “wrap” around a device or structure. Willow Glass is specifically formulated to couple with touch sensors, and Corning is exploring further use in “lighting and flexible solar cells.” The company’s fusion process helps to make the product just 100 microns thick, which is akin to a sheet of printer paper. Willow Glass samples are shipping to customers now, but The Verge expects full production to begin later this year.

Apple released a report in March on U.S. jobs that revealed Corning employees in Kentucky and New York create “the majority of the glass for iPhone.”

Gorilla Glass 2 video: 

Corning’s Gorilla Glass 2 is a much stronger, resilient version of the Gorilla Glass featured on Apple’s current iPhones. It’s possible that the next-generation iPhone will sport this new glass, so take a look at the video above.

The full press release is below.

This article is cross-posted at 9to5Google. 

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Corning Launches Ultra-Slim Flexible Glass

Corning® Willow™ Glass will help enable new, thinner applications
and could revolutionize display manufacturing

CORNING, N.Y., June 04, 2012 – Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) announced the launch of Corning® Willow™ Glass, an ultra-slim flexible glass, which could revolutionize the shape and form of next-generation consumer electronic technologies. The company made the announcement today at the Society for Information Display’s Display Week, an industry tradeshow in Boston.

It will support thinner backplanes and color filters for both organic light emitting diodes (OLED) and liquid crystal displays (LCD) in high-performance, portable devices such as smartphones, tablets, and notebook computers. This new, ultra-slim flexible glass will also help develop conformable (curved) displays for immersive viewing or mounting on non-flat surfaces.Corning Willow Glass will help enable thin, light and cost-efficient applications including today’s slim displays and the smart surfaces of the future. The thinness, strength, and flexibility of the glass has the potential to enable displays to be “wrapped” around a device or structure. As well, Corning Willow Glass can be processed at temperatures up to 500° C. High temperature processing capability is essential for today’s high-end displays, and is a processing condition that cannot be supported with polymer films. Corning Willow Glass will enable the industry to pursue high-temperature, continuous “roll-to-roll” processes – similar to how newsprint is produced – that have been impossible until now.

Corning Willow Glass is formulated to perform exceptionally well for electronic components such as touch sensors, as well as leveraging glass’s natural hermetic properties as a seal for OLED displays and other moisture and oxygen-sensitive technologies.

“Displays become more pervasive each day and manufacturers strive to make both portable devices and larger displays thinner. Corning Willow Glass provides the substrate performance to maintain device quality in a thin and light form factor,” said Dr. Dipak Chowdhury, division vice president and Willow Glass program director. “Currently manufacturing in a sheet-to-sheet process, we expect Corning Willow Glass to eventually allow customers to switch to high-throughput, efficient roll-to-roll processing, a long-awaited industry milestone.”

Like Corning’s other leading-edge glass substrates, including EAGLE XG® Slim and Corning Lotus™ Glass, Corning Willow Glass is produced using the company’s proprietary fusion process. Advances in fusion forming have made it possible to produce glass that is 100 microns thick – about the thickness of a sheet of copy paper. Even at that thickness, it provides hermetic sealing to sensitive components, while also providing excellent optical, thermal, and surface properties.

Corning is currently shipping samples of its Willow Glass to customers developing new display and touch applications. The company is also collaborating with research institutions, customers, and equipment makers to develop an ecosystem of compatible process equipment, including optimized process design.

Although initially being launched as an advanced display substrate, Corning is actively working on other potential applications for its Willow Glass, including use in lighting and flexible solar cells.

“Corning will continue to develop and improve innovative glass products to enable the high-performance, game-changing displays that will drive tomorrow’s increasingly diverse electronics markets,” Chowdhury said.

For more information, please see www.corning.com/WILLOW.

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