Professor Cheah Kok-wai’s many research endeavours include the development of novel materials for displays, optical communication and imaging.


The new HKBU invention can be deposited onto various types of substrate including quartz, fused silica and silicon.


Date: 27 May 2015 (Wednesday)


Physics scholar invents ultra-hard anti-scratch cover for touch screen devices


HKBU Physics scholar and his team developed a submicron thin film that is ultra-hard, non-fragile and scratch resistant for use as covers on electronic devices including smartphones and tablets. Compared with the existing less durable and easily scratched glass cover on mobile devices, this non-fragile thin substrate can be applied to screens providing excellent scratch protection. Its manufacturing cost is approximately half that of sapphire covered glass.
Professor Cheah Kok-wai, Chair Professor of the Department of Physics, said, “Currently, glass that is vulnerable to scratches is commonly used to make screens for mobile electronic devices. Sapphire cover glass can also provide excellent protection from scratches, however this alternative involves high costs and processing is complex.
ArmoGlass®, a new material invented at HKBU, is a layer of nano-materials that have ultra-hard and anti-scratch properties and can be deposited onto a transparent substrate, ideal for use on touch screen devices. Its hardness is proved to be comparable to the hardness of single crystal sapphire, which although hard is fragile. Hence, our team developed this nano-materials sapphire that provides an ultra-hard and strong surface.”
Professor Cheah added that the fabricated layer can be deposited onto various types of substrate including quartz, fused silica and silicon. The fabrication process can be completed using standard industrial deposition processes; therefore production can be scaled-up with minimal development time.
To commercialise this HKBU technology and begin pilot production, Professor Cheah and his team established a company using the fund granted by the Technology Start-up Support Scheme for Universities set up by the Government’s Innovation and Technology Commission. After having applied for a US provisional patent last year, a full US patent has been filed in March this year.

Professor Cheah’s team proves that HKBU’s submicron material achieves a hardness superior to tempered glass (existing mobile phone protection stickers) yet just slightly lower than sapphire.