You’ve likely heard of ITO coated glass and be wondering what ITO coating is. ITO coatings are used in many of the products we use in daily life, such as smart phone touch screens and solar panels.
Indium tin oxide is a transparent conducting oxide composed of indium, tin and oxygen that can applied to substrates such as glass. ITO is one of the most widely used transparent conducting oxides because of its electrical conductivity and optical transparency properties.
The level of precision by which ITO can be applied to a substrate, to meet specific designs makes ITO coatings a popular choice. ITO coatings are the common choice for LCDs due to the ability to precisely etch ITO into fine patterns.
What is Indium?
Indium is a technology-critical element, belonging to the same group as aluminium. Whilst aluminium is the most abundant metal of the earth’s crust, indium is much less abundant. Due to the rarity of indium, ITO is not the cheapest option of transparent conducting oxides, but it offers consistently better performance, moisture resistance and precision etching.
Indium is the softest metal, other than the alkali metals. The element was discovered in 1863 and named after its indigo coloured spectral line. Indium ore is extremely rare and so most indium used in technology is sourced as an extraction by-product from zinc and iron ore extractions and undergoes purification by electrolysis. Indium has stable isotopes and is only very mildly radioactive. Interestingly, when bent, indium metal emits an audible squeak, an uncommon property.
Indium Tin Oxide
The most commonly used form of indium is indium tin oxide (ITO). Composed of 90% indium oxide and 10% tin oxide, ITO offers a unique combination of transparency and conductive. These properties have led to the extensive use of ITOs for mobile phones touch screens, televisions and LCD monitors, amongst many other applications across multiple industries.
Indium Tin Oxide Coatings
ITO coatings can be applied to substrates such as glass and plastic and have favourable electronic and optical properties, resulting in their prevalent use in a broad range of applications. Common uses of ITO coatings include screens, displays, sensors and energy efficient windows. Special antireflective and optical coatings are available for specific purposes. ITO coatings are used across any different industries, such as automotive, military and for research and development.
A leading manufacturer of quality ITO coatings, Diamond Coatings are experienced in the deposition of ITO coatings onto a variety of substrates and offer an extensive range of ITO coated products.