Cracked Cellphone Screens: A Thing of the Past?

By Leah Rosenbaum for Live Science

Almost every smartphone owner knows the sickening feeling of watching your phone fall to the ground and seeing the screen splinter like a spiderweb into dozens of tiny pieces. The screens are one of the iPhone’s major design flaws; they are made primarily out of silicone, a material that is not only expensive, but also easily broken.

But researchers think they may have developed a material that would end cracked screens for good.

Claudia Ojeda-Aristizabal from California State University, Long Beach, who participated in the research, said the material is made by layering hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), graphene, and C60, which is also known as Buckminsterfullerene, or “bucky-ball,” because of its resemblance to the geodesic dome structures of architect Buckminster Fuller.

Not only is the new material crack-resistant — it’s energy-efficient and a fast conductor of electricity. And, because of the C60, which is commonly used in solar cells, the material could mean your screen might one day recharge your phone’s battery.

Here’s how the material is constructed.

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