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Displays


Antimicrobial coatings for safer touchscreens


For the foreseeable future, our safety depends on minimising avoidable interactions with other human beings. Touchscreen displays can reduce the number of human-to-human interactions we have per day. However, while they can help us avoid direct contact with other people, harmful organisms can survive on the surface and be transferred between users. Here, Mike Logan, Anders Electronics, explores anti-microbial treatments for touchscreens as an option to improve safety during the pandemic


transmitted. Viruses like COVID-19 can survive on surfaces for extended periods, so it is important to keep things clean and sterile and avoid touching them as much as possible. Obviously this is a challenge when it comes to


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interacting with our digital world: we have become accustomed to touch-sensitive interfaces to do our banking, buy items like groceries or travel tickets, access buildings and work areas, and control machines of all types, from simple appliances like coffee makers or office equipment, to complex industrial automation. Touchscreen technology has been a huge


success, delivering easy usability as we tap, swipe, and flick naturally and intuitively through options presented on the screen. They are also easier to wipe clean than traditional keypads, switch panels, knobs and buttons. Now, however, we need to go further as many people are feeling more concerned about cleanliness than ever. We can make touchscreens


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he pandemic situation has focused people’s minds on hygiene and the many ways in which infections can be


safer using anti-microbial treatments, which can be applied during manufacture or retrospectively, or by implementing touchless gesture controls.


HOW DOES ANTI-BACTERIAL GLASS WORK? Anti-bacterial, or anti-microbial, glass is treated with a special coating that has bacteriostatic and sterilising properties. It is a nano-silver formula, applied at manufacture by immersion and subsequent high-temperature sintering. The ensures the anti-microbial property is


glass, which actively kills unwanted organisms, continuously clean and sterilise the screen’s surface. On the other hand, gesture control can deliver an inherently safe touch-free user experience.


‘‘ ’’ October 2020 Instrumentation Monthly


baked into the glass and will last for the lifetime of the product. In principle, the positively charged silver ions penetrate the negatively charged microbes by adsorption and disrupt their respiratory and reproductive processes. This inhibits growth and ultimately destroys micro-organisms on the glass surface. Anti-microbial glass has extremely good optical properties, achieving over 90 per cent transmittance. Moreover, other coatings such as anti-fingerprint and anti-glare can be applied without compromising anti-microbial action.


Innovations such as anti-bacterial


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