Samsung has attained a new patent for a method by which to strengthen the glass associated with an electronic device, which may help make its smartphones even more durable moving forward. Specifically, the patent – published on April 12 to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under publication number 20180099904 – appears to describe a new means by which smartphone glass can be strengthened. Whether or not the patent ever sees use remains to be seen but displays are notoriously the weakest point of any technology. So it's good to see that Samsung is actively pursuing improvements on that front.
With regard to the method itself, Samsung's patent starts by stamping a "blocking pattern" into a sheet of glass and then ionizing the exposed pattern. That appears to be followed by filling in the gaps in the newly etched pattern with metallic particle and then putting the glass through a "thermal treatment" to etch the glass further with those particulates. Afterward, the surface is rinsed clean before utilizing a chemical compound, described as containing potassium ion, to bond the newly patterned glass. Of course, the purpose of all of that seems to be to give the surface of the glass a more solid structural pattern that will make it more resistant to scratching and cracking. However, the patent also says that "the blocking patterns may be hydrophobic relative to the surface of the glass." So that may point to a further purpose beyond simply making a device harder to break.
It goes without saying that Samsung is already well-known for putting extra effort into strengthening its devices. However, as recent tests of its latest flagships have shown, that can always stand to be improved. Even the latest iterations of Corning's Gorilla glass don't withstand some of the most common drops a smartphone is going to be put through by some users. It's worth mentioning though, that the mere existence of a patent does not mean that it will ever be used. There will simply be no way of knowing until the company announces something more concrete and explicitly says that it has used the method described here.