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3M Innovation Enables Touch in Handheld Devices Without Being Seen

SEATTLE, SID, Booth #339 – May 25-27, 2010 - From your cell phone, to your favorite music device and ebook reader more and more companies are relying on 3M’s family of Optically Clear Adhesives (OCAs) that enable the high-quality touch features used in today’s most popular consumer mobile devices. OCAs are a highly-specialized film that offers excellent clarity and adhesion to various types of transparent substrates.

Known for its innovative culture and advanced adhesive technologies used in such products ranging from Post-it® Notes to very high bond tape to replace rivets on metal, 3M adhesives technologies are crossing into a host of seemingly unrelated markets, such as consumer electronics. 3M OCAs bring both function and value to the mobile device customer by taking a simple adhesive and making it more complex by engineering the adhesives optical properties to enable extra electronic function such as touch.

3M introduced OCAs more than a decade ago, well before there was demand for touch applications or competing products. During their development, the challenge for 3M’s experts was to figure out how to line up the touch point with what viewers saw on the display image. Overcoming this daunting issue makes touch possible.

One of 3M’s hallmarks of innovation is creating behind-the-scene components that improve products used by consumers. 3M OCAs are an excellent example of this. These clear adhesives are applied in transparent applications where the greatest advantage is not being seen, such as in displays, touch panels and other devices requiring an optically clear bond. Generally, adhesives yellow in such applications, but 3M know-how in optical science allowed the company to become the first to eliminate the yellowish tint in electronic devices and keep the white light.

3M is the only manufacturer to offer in-house customization and die cutting to provide more control over quality and ensure specifications are met. 3M’s comprehensive family of OCAs are available in a variety of thicknesses for standard and custom applications including:

  • 3M Contrast Enhancement Film is designed for assembly of critical display parts including attachment of touch interface layers and gap filling between LCD and lens to improve brightness and contrast.
  • 3M Liquid Optically Clear Adhesive is designed for gap filling of large display parts or curved/non-flat surfaces, or any other applications that require optical bonding.
  • 3M Broadband Anti-Reflection Film is designed for laminating to lens and LCD to reduce reflection at interfaces over the entire visible spectrum without shifting color space.

“3M’s innovation in the development of OCAs has been unmatched in the industry,” said T.S. Kim, business development manager at 3M. “Our breadth and high-quality of OCA solutions, coupled with our responsiveness and technical ability to serve customers’ needs will continue to be a priority to help further the industry’s most popular consumer mobile devices.”

The pioneering research done on OCAs is a classic example of 3M’s ability to mix, match, and migrate technologies from one industry to another. The development of OCAs began 15 years ago as 3M scientists engineered an environmentally sound adhesive. Variations of the adhesive were initially used in industrial assembling applications for bonding a host of substrates with the first application being in industrial welding helmets. 3M researchers took the next generation of OCAs into consumer electronics to fulfill the industry’s need for adhesives used in mobile phone touch circuits. OCAs were the solution. Researchers advanced product development to a clean room environment for the demanding electronics application.

The challenge was to put an adhesive in the front of the LCD display without the tiniest of defects disturbing the function or disrupting the visual view. Plus, researchers sought to create an adhesive that will survive the day-to-day abuses that mobile cell phones undergo. The display had to stay bonded even after thousands of touches. Adhesive needed to stand up to extreme conditions such as humidity, heat, harsh arctic temperatures and high-pressure environments in airplane cabins. OCA could improve the viewability, correct color and provide a shield to display to inhibit corrosion – all this without delaminating.

For more information about 3M’s family of OCAs visit 3M’s booth # 339 during the SID show in Seattle, Wash. from May 25-27, 2010.

About 3M
A recognized leader in research and development, 3M produces thousands of innovative products for dozens of diverse markets. 3M’s core strength is applying its more than 40 distinct technology platforms – often in combination – to a wide array of customer needs. With $23 billion in sales, 3M employs 75,000 people worldwide and has operations in more than 65 countries. For more information, visit

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Stephani Simon
(612) 392-7613
Colleen Harris
3M Public Relations
(651) 733-1566

3M Public Relations and Corporate Communications
3M Center, Building 225-1S-15
St. Paul, MN 55144-1000

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