Improving Optical Characteristics of Thin Glass

COLUMBUS, Ohio, OCTOBER 24, 2019 — In recent years, glass has become an important part of our day-to-day lives, acting as a physical boundary between humans and digital information and communication.

At the AVS 66th International Symposium and Exhibition on Oct. 20-25 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio, Albert Fahey, an associate scientist at Corning Incorporated, will present on the methods scientists use to study the chemical and mechanical properties of glass and other optical surfaces.

Modern technologies’ reliance on advances in glass have led to new requirements placed on the development of the material. For example, for applications in information displays, there is a need for surfaces that are bright and show high definition but are simultaneously durable.

“This is a modern approach to doing something that’s thousands of years old,” said Fahey. “It’s made of dirt, but it’s elevated to a high-tech material.”

Because the material that allows devices to have properties like high-definition displays is below the glass surface, part of the challenge in manufacturing the glass lies in making it both thinner — which has also led to improved touchscreen sensitivity — and stronger.

“We have to make these things last and survive regular consumer abuse,” Fahey said.

The near-surface region of the glass plays a key role in how we interact with it. Scratch resistance, cleanability and appearance are all characteristics of the glass that depend on its structure at its surface. According to Fahey, a lot of chemistry is involved in this thin section. 

One surface property Fahey and his team are trying to bring awareness to is anti-reflectivity and its effects on energy efficiency.

“If there’s less of a reflection, the screen doesn’t have to be quite as bright,” he said. “This can help extend battery life.”

In his talk, Fahey will discuss how scientists are working to better understand these optical surfaces and their limits, and what new things are being done to improve user friendliness.


Presentation: “Characterization of Glass and Durable Optical Surfaces and Their Modes of Failure,” Albert Fahey, D. Baker and T. Dimond, Corning Inc., Thursday, Oct. 24, 2:20 p.m., Room A211 in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, Ohio




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AVS is an interdisciplinary, professional society with some 4,500 members worldwide. Founded in 1953, AVS hosts local and international meetings, publishes five journals, serves members through awards, training and career services programs and supports networking among academic, industrial, government, and consulting professionals. Its members come from across the fields of chemistry, physics, biology, mathematics, engineering and business and share a common interest in basic science, technology development and commercialization related to materials, interfaces, and processing. For more information about AVS, visit our website at


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