Samsung Electronics recently secured a patent pertaining to an anti-fingerprint compound boasting self-healing properties, with the patent application having been published by the World Intellectual Property Organization earlier this month. The application mentions the terms "film" "laminate" and "device" and the composition is described as including compounds such as polyrotaxane, polyhedral silsesquioxane, and fluorinated (meth)acryl. Technicalities aside, developing an anti-fingerprint coating with self-healing properties which could be applied on glass surfaces makes quite a lot of sense for Samsung at this particular point in time, given that the majority of its ongoing smartphones feature a glass-sandwich design.
Improving smartphone screens with an oleophobic coating is not something new in the mobile world, and these types of treatments have been applied to small screens for many years with varying degrees of success. Although these coatings are meant to last, and arguably they do so for longer than a smartphone's usual lifespan, Samsung seems to want and push the concept to a new level by creating an anti-fingerprint compound able to regenerate itself. It's unclear to what extent the patented composition will have the capacity to self-heal, but it might make a difference in the real world even if it would be limited to tackling only micro scratches and such smaller defects. Samsung already employs some of the best screen protectors for its flagship phones, and the Galaxy Note 7 launched in 2016 was the first mobile device to make use of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 for its back panel. Today, the same type of glass can be found covering both the front and back of some of the OEM's premium devices including the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the newly-introduced Galaxy Note 9.
Given that Samsung's smartphones are now mostly covered in glass, they are undeniably highly susceptible to fingerprint marks even though existing oleophobic solutions keep some of the smudges at bay. But as the trend towards smaller bezels, larger screens, and higher glass-to-body ratio continues, Samsung's anti-fingerprint coating with self-healing abilities could become a sought-after solution in the future. It might also play a role in the development of flexible mobile devices, especially since the patent application at hand includes a couple of drawings depicting this technology.