Display glass has come a long way from the days of soda lime formation. Today, cover glass for consumer electronics is highly engineered into durable ultra-thin chemically tempered glass.1 In addition, Corning and Asahi Glass have been leading the way in flexible display glass. As a result, the industry expects that a truly foldable glass screen smartphone may be only a few years away.2 Driving innovation is the goal for manufacturers, to generate a leading edge and increase market share in the often winner-takes-all consumer electronics market. Besides compositional manufacturing and glass design, there’s an increasing trend toward topical coatings that alter surface properties.

These surface properties’ alternations range from optical changes, including antiglare (AG) or antireflective (AR) coatings, to wetting modifications, such as antifingerprint (AF) and self-cleaning coatings, to even functional changes such as antimicrobial coatings. The vast array of coatings tailor surfaces to penetrate niche markets and satisfy strong customer preferences. Here, we describe market changes in topical coatings and the market forces that govern them.

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