Glass coated with Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is very common in daily living. Some of the common applications include ATMs, cellphone or tablet touchscreens, and other electrical appliances with touch displays. There are other applications of ITO coated glass in various industries as highlighted further in this article.
Indium tin oxide is an oxide with conduction properties coated on various substrates including glass. The coating is highly transparent to allow application on glass for various purposes. Apart from glass, this coating is applied to other materials including plastics, polyester, thin-film, acrylics, and polycarbonates. The transparent ITO coating conducts electricity to match use in various applications.
Properties of ITO coated glass
The layer of ITO coating is usually about 25 nm thick to work efficiently when exposed to temperatures of about 350˚ C or 662˚ Fahrenheit. Most glass coating with ITO has a square or rectangular shape although customizing it into various shapes such as circular is possible. This versatility allows use in various applications such as research and making solar cells. Traditional float glass for coating with ITO had a thickness ranging from 1.1 – 0.5 mm. Surface resistance has a significant impact on ITO conductivity.
Standard glass with a square shape for coating with ITO usually ranges from 25 to 200 mm. Alternatively, the standard size for glass with a rectangular shape for coating with ITO ranges from 50 x 25 mm or 75 x 25 mm. The largest glass ever coated with ITO was 405 x 305 mm. The surface resistance of ITO coated glass slides is from 10 -100 ohms/sq. Preparing the slides makes it essential to buy automatic glass cutting table. Glass coverslips coated with ITO have a transmittance factor of 500 nm which is more than 85 percent to offer optimal storage.
Applying ITO coating on glass
Making glass coated with ITO involves spreading a thin layer of Indium Tin Oxide uniformly on a glass substrate. Concurrently, the application makes the glass substrate become highly transparent and get low resistance. Extensive care is imperative during the application of ITO coating on the glass substrate. Additionally, the procedure must be undertaken in a completely vacuum-sealed environment.
Sputtering to coat the glass sheet with ITO is done at a defined temperature of 300˚ C. The coating is done on a single side to make it conductive whilst maintaining insulation on the other side. Glass coated with Fluorine-doped Tin Oxide (FTO) has the middle layer with silicon dioxide between a layer of ITO and glass made of borosilicate. This layer increases the quality and longevity of the ITO-coated glass.
Application of ITO coated glass
Apart from touchscreens of various appliances highlighted at the beginning of the article, glass coated with ITO is useful in various applications for daily living including:
- Energy-efficient windows,
- LCD screens
- Camera technology
- Gas sensors
- Supermarket freezer doors
- Solar panels
Glass coated with ITO is very important in the medical industry for various purposes including glass slides and coverslips and microscopes. Additionally, smart glass coated with ITO is useful in shielding against electromagnetic interference (EMI). The glass acts as a foil in the wall cavity to deflect accidental EMI waves because of having a low surface to electricity resistances. This protects electronic devices in the vicinity.
Glass coated with ITO is useful in making heated windows for aircraft and trains. Windows made of ITO coated glass maintain optical clarity and similar heating regardless of environment. The window remains transparent without risk of obstructed views resulting from mist, ice buildup, or condensation that might require removing manually. Additionally, ITO coated glass is also in use for making car sensors.
There are various innovations in the military and defense industry thanks to glass coated with ITO including:
- EMC filters
- Heated displays
- Military-grade keyboards
- Waterproof LCD monitors
- Portable computer in transit case
- Night vision applications
- LED backlights or controller
- Optical enhancement coatings
ITO coating offers conductivity and transparency for various materials like glass and plastic. When applied to materials that don’t conduct electricity, ITO coating prevents electrostatic charging. All applications requiring highly visible transmission of light with electrically conductive surfaces can utilize ITO coating.
Transparent electrodes for solar cells, flat-screen displays, and organic light-emitting diodes require ITO to allow transparency in visible light but protected from electromagnetic radiation. The deposit of transparent electrodes on glass allows electrochromic glazing for the deicing system. ITO coating makes using transparent conductive film as the front electrode possible in place of traditional metal lines in the production of solar cells.
Glass coated with ITO is applicable in various industries and situations. Understanding needs and appropriate products from a reliable supplier is very important. Fortunately, it is so easy to source quality products from a reliable supplier online.