3M plans to aggressively ramp up its touch sensor film manufacturing capacity worldwide to more than 600,000 square meters per month this year. To feed the production capacity, it just announced a rollout of three film products: Patterned Silver Nanowire Touch Sensor Film, Patterned Metal Mesh Touch Sensor Film, and Advanced ITO Touch Sensor Film.
The patterned metal mesh film provides high conductivity and transparency, and an exceptionally flexible material. It features a target sheet resistance of 40 to 80 ohms per square, enhancing the design of responsive touch displays. The mesh patterning features thin silver traces that are less than 2.0 microns wide, which improves transmission, reduces haze, and eliminates moiré.
The patterned metal mesh is conformable for use in curved and foldable touch-screen designs without taking a performance hit. Its conformability also means that sensors and conductors are less likely to be damaged during processing than with traditional film solutions. This offering is suitable for up to a 17" diagonal screen, and it supports mobile device sizes and designs as well. The film enables high-volume manufacturing of touch sensors.
Simultaneously, the company announced an unpatterned indium tin oxide (ITO) film for high-volume touch sensor films in all-in-one (AIO) computers, tablets, notebooks, and smartphones.
The etchable ITO films provide excellent optical transparency, high conductivity, and quality at reasonable pricing. They feature low electrical resistivity, less than 150 ohms per square for multi-finger, multi-touch applications. This solution targets both large (up to 46") diagonal, and small format touch modules.
Finally, 3M also launched its patterned Silver Nanowire Film, a combination of 3M and Cambrios Technology's ink technologies. Enabling curved and bezel displays, the solution features conductors made from Cambrios's silver nanowire ink, micropatterned by 3M on a polyester (PET) film substrate.
The highly transparent material features a target transmittance of >89%, with good optical clarity and low haze. Sheet resistance can be customized, with resistances ranging from 45 to 00 ohms/square for fast response time. The flexible material conforms to angles and rounded surfaces for next-gen curved and rollable touch sensors.
While the foldable/bendable/curved displays primarily target consumer applications, the myriad of choices in touch-screen films opens up a world of possibilities across many application segments, including industrial.