Conductive and transparent thin film

Scheibe mit Alleskönner-Schicht Fogged or frozen windows are the bane of drivers‘ lives in winter. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST in Braunschweig (Germany) have developed a process that allows them to manufacture not just transparent, but conductive – and therefore heatable – films. These films prevent condensation, ensuring ice cannot build up on the windscreen overnight.

Films that up to now have been produced with tin oxide are both mechanically and optically still far from ideal. Cracks may form as a result of excessive temperature loads – a problem encountered during the glass bending process. As a result, tin-oxide films only have limited industrial applications. „Our new film is extremely resilient", says Dr. Bernd Szyszka from the Fraunhofer IST. „Temperatures up to 900 degrees Celsius are no problem, and even if you bend it aggressively – the film remains intact." The coating can therefore also be used in large industrial plants where transparent protective heaters are often required to monitor the process chain safely.