Go Back   MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:23 PM   #1
MacRumors
macrumors bot
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Apple's New Manufacturing Partner, GT Advanced, Uses Particle Accelerator to Cut Sapphire Glass Production Costs




Apple's new sapphire glass manufacturing partner, GT Advanced, owns some very advanced technology to manufacture extremely thin sheets of sapphire much more cheaply than current methods.

TechCrunch has done some digging and discovered a company called Twin Creeks that GT Advanced acquired late last year. Twin Creeks developed a hydrogen particle accelerator (pictured below) as a cheaper alternative to saws when attempting to slice larger chunks of sapphire for use on electronics.

Quote:
Twin Creeks' hydrogen ion particle accelerator (basically an ion cannon) allowed them to place wafers around the edges of the device and smash them with hydrogen ions. Here's a description of the process from Extreme Tech:

"A particle accelerator bombards these wafers with hydrogen ions, and with exacting control of the voltage of the accelerator, the hydrogen ions accumulate precisely 20 micrometers from the surface of each wafer. A robotic arm then transports the wafers to a furnace where the ions expand into hydrogen gas, which cause the 20-micrometer-thick layer to shear off."

The process, when applied to solar, is then followed up by backing the sheets with flexible metal. The result is a huge reduction in thickness of sheets without the use of saws. This results in a big reduction in costs.
According to the press release GT Advanced released last week, GT expects to see its gross margins to drop significantly as sapphire glass production rises -- as costs go down -- but the overall volume will more than make up for it.

TechCrunch goes on to note a patent that Apple got last year that creates a layered touchscreen with a "hyper-thin sheet of sapphire" combined with much cheaper glass sheets. The sapphire glass could be on the outside of the phone, protecting the screen from scratches, while enjoying the cost-savings of cheaper forms of glass on the rest of the display assembly.
Quote:
By doing this, Apple could stretch out the production and cost factors of sapphire enough to support manufacturing full-size display cover sheets, not just small wearable panels, buttons or protective camera covers. This, in turn, could mean sapphire cover sheets that are harder and tougher than standard glass materials on your iPhone years sooner than most analysts have predicted.
The new Apple/GT Advanced facility is expected to open in Mesa, Arizona sometime next year.

Article Link: Apple's New Manufacturing Partner, GT Advanced, Uses Particle Accelerator to Cut Sapphire Glass Production Costs
MacRumors is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:30 PM   #2
Noctilux.95
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: LA
test
Noctilux.95 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:33 PM   #3
larrylaffer
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Los Angeles
First for particle-smashed forums.
larrylaffer is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:38 PM   #4
jyen
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Wow, I had no idea you could do stuff like that with a particle accelerator.
jyen is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:40 PM   #5
JohnArtist
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: New York
An "ion cannon"? Like from Star Wars?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hy_vDj1bec4
JohnArtist is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:42 PM   #6
Reason077
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Pretty impressive looking particle accelerator.

But I'd be more impressed if it were portable (say, backpack sized) and fired a stream of protons which could trap ectoplasmic entities.
Reason077 is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:43 PM   #7
akbarali.ch
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Mumbai (India)
I wish they use these kinds of advanced technology for the batteries....but glass will also do for time being, what say ?
__________________
iMac 21.5" i5 2.9GHz 2012; iphone 4S 16GB white; iPad Air Space Grey 16GB Cellular; iPhone 3GS 16GB; iPhone 3GS 8GB; Time Capsule 3TB
akbarali.ch is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:45 PM   #8
DaveChapin
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Good Lord
DaveChapin is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:46 PM   #9
Woogaloo
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
I'd love to see the cost of the saws if a hydrogen particle accelerator is the "cheaper" alternative...

Either way very cool that they can do this.
Woogaloo is offline   3 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:47 PM   #10
ovt1111
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Cant innovate anymore..Ya rite..
ovt1111 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:49 PM   #11
josh.b
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Tomorrow Samsung will have one too
josh.b is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:49 PM   #12
TrashCanBin
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Impressive.
TrashCanBin is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:52 PM   #13
Reason077
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by akbarali.ch View Post
I wish they use these kinds of advanced technology for the batteries....
Yes!! Future iPhones could be powered by micro-sized Radioisotope thermoelectric generators. These will be around the same size as current batteries but will never need to be recharged. Just be careful not to let it overheat, and dispose of responsibly!
Reason077 is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:55 PM   #14
Jayse
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Sydney, Australia
Love these news stories. Very fascinating!
__________________
2012 13" Retina MacBook Pro 2.5GHz + iPhone 5 64GB
Jayse is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 01:59 PM   #15
petsounds
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Seems like the forums got caught in a particle accelerator accident as well.

Strange that it's such a small device -- the particle accelerators I've seen pictures of are several miles in length and accelerate the particles using pulsed electromagnets. I'm surprised they can accelerate the particles in such a small enclosure and get enough velocity to cut through sapphire!
petsounds is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 02:01 PM   #16
jtmarine73
macrumors member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woogaloo View Post
I'd love to see the cost of the saws if a hydrogen particle accelerator is the "cheaper" alternative...

Either way very cool that they can do this.
I would bet the cost is more, but there are no saws to replace. Hydrogen is in pretty good supply. Pretty amazing innovation for a company that can't innovate anymore. Would love to see how much stronger sapphire is then gorilla glass.
jtmarine73 is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 02:02 PM   #17
scbn
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
A Sapphire iPhone? Great!
scbn is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 02:02 PM   #18
klaxamazoo
macrumors 6502
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woogaloo View Post
I'd love to see the cost of the saws if a hydrogen particle accelerator is the "cheaper" alternative...

Either way very cool that they can do this.
It's not the cost of the saws that makes the Hydrogen Particle Accelerator cheaper. It is the fact that you don't waste a saw blade's width of material, don't waste material polishing, etc. It takes 17 days to make one ingot of sapphire and using the particle accelerators probably get 5x as many wafers out of a single ingot using this process.
klaxamazoo is offline   1 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 02:03 PM   #19
neutrino23
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SF Bay area
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woogaloo View Post
I'd love to see the cost of the saws if a hydrogen particle accelerator is the "cheaper" alternative...

Either way very cool that they can do this.
The problem is that the saw blade is relatively thick so that you wind up losing most of the sapphire to the saw cut. Using the proton method there is virtually no wasted material.

Accelerating protons into sapphire is a clever idea. Charged particles in solids lose energy as 1/E. This means that the slower they move the faster they they slow down. This is why they all wind up at roughly the same depth. The protons acquire an electron from the matrix becoming hydrogen. When the boule is heated the gas expands and a thin slice cleaves off the boule.

Interesting that they will layer 20 microns of sapphire over glass. Sapphire is extremely hard but it might not be tough. Perhaps the combination is both scratch resistant and fracture resistant.
neutrino23 is offline   5 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 02:05 PM   #20
DTphonehome
macrumors 65816
 
DTphonehome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: NYC
Quote:
Originally Posted by petsounds View Post
Seems like the forums got caught in a particle accelerator accident as well.

Strange that it's such a small device -- the particle accelerators I've seen pictures of are several miles in length and accelerate the particles using pulsed electromagnets. I'm surprised they can accelerate the particles in such a small enclosure and get enough velocity to cut through sapphire!
If my understanding of the technology is correct, the particles don't actually cut the material. The hydrogen particles accumulate on the surface of the sapphire, and then, when heated, they expand and shear off a fragment of the sapphire substrate.
DTphonehome is offline   2 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 03:51 PM   #21
TMay
macrumors 65816
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Carson City, NV
Would Apple also be pushing Silicon on sapphire?

I seem to recall that this is one of the processes available for RF devices; might Apple be delving into this as well?
TMay is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 04:03 PM   #22
rei101
macrumors 6502a
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
All that 21st century technology just to receive a phone call from someone to tell you your girlfriend is cheating on you.
rei101 is offline   4 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 04:04 PM   #23
The Oak
macrumors newbie
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
If it is not 64 bit though ... forget it
The Oak is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 04:20 PM   #24
needfx
macrumors 68030
 
needfx's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: macrumors apparently
Can they accelerate other production aspects with this contraption?
needfx is offline   0 Reply With Quote
Old Nov 12, 2013, 04:24 PM   #25
jmggs
macrumors regular
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Particle Accelerator is controled by a PC
__________________
Win8 Pro Workstation, Macbook Pro 2.4 & iPod Touch 3G 64gb & iPad 3, Linux Debian 64bit Server
jmggs is offline   0 Reply With Quote

Reply
MacRumors Forums > News and Article Discussion > MacRumors.com News Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Similar Threads
thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Apple's Manufacturing Partner Starts Preparing for iPhone 6 Production MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 84 Mar 22, 2014 02:27 AM
Apple Partner GT Advanced Recruiting Local Residents for Jobs at Arizona Sapphire Plant MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 24 Jan 22, 2014 08:59 PM
Apple's Arizona Factory is Dramatic Expansion of GT Advanced's Sapphire Production MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 21 Nov 14, 2013 04:20 PM
Apple to Build Sapphire Glass Manufacturing Plant in Arizona MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 102 Nov 8, 2013 04:53 PM
A Look at How GT Advanced Makes Sapphire Glass for Smartphone Displays MacRumors MacRumors.com News Discussion 41 Nov 8, 2013 11:25 AM

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:10 AM.

Mac Rumors | Mac | iPhone | iPhone Game Reviews | iPhone Apps

Mobile Version | Fixed | Fluid | Fluid HD
Copyright 2002-2013, MacRumors.com, LLC