In Photonic Study, a new discovery has revealed a way of embedding sensors into the glass of smartphones, which means potential user authentication and temperature measuring will be built right into the screen’s glass.

smartphone photonic laser-writing
The laser-writing setup used in the research (Photo: Jerome Lapointe)

Impacting Long Battery Life to Smartphones

These glass-based sensors will only rely on light meaning, they can not only make phones smaller but can also make huge savings on battery life.

Researchers at the university Polytechnique Montreal have implanted sensors into Corning Gorilla Glass.

The sensors don’t use electricity but use optical waveguides to funnel photons through glass channels rather than electricity through wires, meaning the glass stays completely clear.

Cheaper than Photolithography

The sensors were laser-etched into the Gorilla Glass, which was found to offer the lowest-measured loss value, the fastest fabrication times, and the longest, high-quality waveguides of any glass.

The temperature sensor, dubbed a Mach-Zehnder interferometer, uses the way glass deforms under heat to deduce temperature.

Improved Screen Clarity

The researchers also etched a unique waveguide into the screen, allowing it to uniquely identify itself when infrared light shone through it. This means the optical waveguide could be used to ensure the phone wasn’t cloned.

Since these sensors are all laser-etched many different types can be stacked on top of each other without compromising the clarity of the glass.

A paper on the research was published in the journal Optics Express.

Read More though-provoking articles.