A Look at How GT Advanced Makes Sapphire Glass for Smartphone Displays

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Nov 5, 2013.

  1. OrangeSVTguy macrumors 601


    Sep 16, 2007
    Northeastern Ohio
    I'd pay $10 for one of those sapphire screens. Shoot that's as cheap as those crappy Chinese screen covers :eek:
  2. Alphabetize macrumors 6502


    Oct 6, 2013
    I'm not all that interested in keeping my screen scratch free, I'd really like my screen to be shatter resistant/proof instead.
  3. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    My watch with sapphire glass is now about 14 years old and looks like new.

    Just thought... If it was a Samsung "smart" watch I'd have charged it about 5,000 times by now:D Thank heavens it's not.


    Interesting article at theregister:


    Summary: Sapphire Glass is very expensive to make because total production is very low. If someone built a factory making massive amounts of it, the production cost would be dramatically reduced. And Apple could provide the money for such a factory which could produce massive amounts of sapphire glass at a cost that is tiny compared to current prices (and Apple could have an exclusive contract making its cost a fraction of the cost of anyone else, until some other company has the same idea).
  4. HiRez macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2004
    Western US
    Since most applications seem to be rectangular slices, it seems odd they'd make the raw block a cylinder. Couldn't they just make the crucible a cube shape?

    The screens they produce look quite thick to me, and very highly reflective.
  5. jetlife2 macrumors regular


    Apr 18, 2004
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Relatively Straightforward!

    ...compared to what? Dilithium Crystal mining?


    The process is relatively straightforward: a sapphire seed, about the size and shape of a hockey puck, is placed at the bottom of a single-use molybdenum barrel called a crucible. The crucible is then filled with a mixture of condensed corundum -a crystalline form of aluminum oxide- and a material called "crackle," sapphire material left over from previous runs. The full crucible is then placed inside the furnace, where it sits atop the "finger," a small liquid helium-cooled platform that prevents the sapphire seed from melting too early. The furnace is sealed, the air is evacuated, and the temperature is brought up to 2100 degrees Celsius to allow the materials to melt together. (The video says 2200, but that's wrong. It's 2100, for all you making-sapphire-at-home hobbyists.) The material is put through a series of cooling cycles over the next 16 or 17 days, during which time the sapphire slowly crystallizes from bottom to top. The end result is this: a 115kg cylindrical section of industrial sapphire called a "boule."

    Well speaking for myself, it is true, I have all these ingredients to hand; as well as the means to machine a solid 115kg cylinder of sapphire at the end; but maybe that's unusual...

  6. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    Seems like many applications are round. Camera lens protection. Touch Id button cover. Watch crystal.

    Plus a round crucible is easier to heat evenly, and to be built to withstand pressure.

    Watch crystals are much thicker than smartphone layers.

    A good sapphire watch crystal is about 5mm thick, so it won't shatter if dropped.

    The Gorilla Glass 2 used to protect smartphone displays is only 0.8mm thick. That's about six times thinner.

    They say mass production would drop a front cover from about $30 to $10-$15. That's still much higher than the $3 for Gorilla Glass.
  7. furi0usbee macrumors 68000


    Jul 11, 2008
    Well, you better not be using Gorilla Glass... I've been walking around with my shattered screen (with clear tape) for about a month. Don't want to drop the $150.00 it will cost to replace at Apple. For now, it will do. And my iPhone 5 was just about 32 days old. I got iOS 7, then dropped my phone. It was truly a breakthrough in OS design.

    So GG is far from shatter resistant/proof. If they can come up with scratch resistant *and* shatter proof, I'd pay $50 more for that screen.


    No, he's not talking into the mouse is he?
  8. aznboi91 macrumors regular

    Jul 27, 2012
    Why protect only the screen? might as well wrap the whole damn thing in sapphire... lol


    I bet you its not even shatter proof... sapphire is sharper than glass once shattered... it isn't a fun experience....
  9. MacMulti macrumors regular

    Mar 20, 2013
  10. greg555 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 24, 2005
    One downside of sapphire is that it has a higher index of refraction than glass. So there will be more reflections than glass unless they add an AR coating. And AR coatings tend to be fingerprint magnifiers.
  11. TrashCanBin macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2013
    And messages magically disappear again. The Nazi regime is strong within these walls.
  12. ZipZap macrumors 603

    Dec 14, 2007
    Too brittle
  13. chr1s60 macrumors 68000


    Jul 24, 2007
    Samsung is clearly interested from all those users scratching screens by turing their phones over on the screen to silence it ;)
  14. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    Not bad at all...

    Now....... case manufactures will have just lost business, except do those non-smart phone users (who cares about them right ??), every manufacture getting on board here with sapphire glass, and the case market take a serious nose dive. straight down...'

    (oh .. The stock market just crashed) ...

    Drop tests will be useless, if entire phones could be made this way, not just the screens...... You'd see people trying to dent their phones in all directions deliberately..

    Seriously..... this is all just one reason,, just NOT to be proactive and use a case... Why bother, when manufactures can take care of this for us with gorilla glass, and now this .....

    I dunno who to blame here.... manufactures for looking out for us, or the users who like to toss them around like a toy....

    Now, if we do that do a a car..... people get mad .... Shame, the same anger doesn't work for a phone ..... :)....

    I'd still get one, if i had to get a phone, but upgrade to one ? not a chance, cos i take care of my phone.
  15. HurryKayne macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2010
    I wonder if sapphire would able to fit with bendable,foldable displays.
  16. tommyboy21 macrumors member

    May 22, 2006
    Los Angeles, CA
    Cool video! And my guess is we'll see this is in the "iWatch" first.
  17. rodriguise macrumors regular


    May 6, 2011
    Sparks, NV
    Siri was recorded in 2005.

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