|A photo of LG Chem's new material for foldable display, called “real folding window” (LG Chem)|
LG Chem has developed a new material for foldable displays that is as hard as glass, but can bend both ways without the creasing issue, it said Tuesday.
According to the South Korean firm, the “real folding window” could be used for surfaces of foldable smartphones, as well as other portable devices, including laptops and tablet PCs.
Hard as glass yet thinner than existing polyimide films, the new material is a plastic film coated with the firm’s own coating technology that makes it able to withstand stress from folding hundreds of thousands of times. It minimizes the crease that occurs down the middle of foldable displays that use polyimide film-based cover windows.
LG Chem’s real folding window uses polyethylene terephthalate (PET), coated with micrometer-thin coating materials developed by the company.
What also makes it stand out is that it can be used for devices that can be folded in both directions. Most devices on the market can only be folded inwards.
The company aims to mass produce the product in 2023.
It will seek to first provide the next-generation display material to the leading smartphone makers.
Meanwhile, LG Chem said it will develop another foldable display material that does not use the PET film as a base and uses just the coating technology. That could make the cover window much thinner and suitable for rollable devices.
According to global market research company Omdia, the market for foldable smartphones is expected to grow from 3.5 million units in 2020 to 50 million units in 2026.