Diverse potential applications include displays and wearable devices.
Toray is developing mass-production techniques for the film with a view to a full-fledged launch in 2020.
Recent years have seen the emergence of foldable and rollable displays and wearable devices on clothing or directly on the skin that collect biometric information. These devices need resilient films that can absorb shock and recover their dimensions after deforming.
But conventional film technologies present tradeoffs between flexibility and restorative capabilities, as cross-links have to be reduced to ensure flexibility. Toray, therefore, leveraged proprietary polymer engineering and film deposition technologies to develop a film that eliminates these tradeoffs. The film provides the heat resistance, printability (adhesiveness), and free surface profiles needed for such processes as coating, printing, and bonding on the film surface, so it should have significant device applications in the years ahead.
The new film offers deforms when subject to the slightest force and is free of hysteresis (the process of energy dissipation through deformation), even when stretched to twice its original length. It recovers its original state even after stretching for long periods. It performs perfectly between -20°C (-4°F) and 80°C (176°F).
Another key benefit of the film is that it withstands drying and heat treatment at up to 150°C (302°F) and is screen and inkjet printable. The film can have a smooth or matte surface and handle uneven shapes as needed.