Surface Impressions

Tablet outside

Surface Impressions

Surface Impressions

With invisible structures measuring just a few microns, our scientists can manipulate light with glare-free results

When it comes to making glossy glass finishes easy to read in bright light, Corning scientists focus intently on what you can’t see.

Miniscule structures constructed on the glass surface – so tiny that they’re visible only under a powerful microscope – are a key factor in the advanced Anti-Reflective and Anti-Glare solutions being developed for Corning® Gorilla® Glass. Each solution has its own properties and advantages, so let’s take a look at how each solution works.


The Anti-Reflective solution, introduced at display industry trade shows in early 2014, begins as a thin, inorganic film on Gorilla Glass. The proprietary thin film manipulates incoming light, causing light waves to interfere and cancel each other out. The intensity and magnitude of reflected light is reduced by about 75 percent.

And rather than dulling out colors like some other commercial anti-reflective coatings, Corning’s solution actually enhances color fidelity for the entire visible spectrum. It’s excellent for displays with very high resolution.

The thin-film application has gotten Corning in the door with customers seeking anti-reflective properties on their cover glass, but scientists are now developing a more-robust version of the anti-reflective thin-film coatings that can withstand the harsh handling of mobile devices. They’re also developing a chemical etching process to achieve a more-readable device.  This chemical etching process creates the Anti-Glare solution.


To understand Corning’s Anti-Glare solution, think of trying to take a photo or read your smartphone when outside on a sunny day. Chances are, you’re instantly annoyed by seeing your own reflection instead of the image on the screen.

If you’re looking at Gorilla Glass with Anti-Glare treatment, though, all the light hitting the screen is still reflecting back – you just don’t notice it. That’s because of the invisible structures on the surface. You can’t see them – they measure only a few microns -- but they are hard at work scattering incoming light in different directions.

As a result, your eyes don’t perceive a sharp reflection of your own image on the surface. That way you can get past the distraction of your reflected image to visualize and focus on the content displayed on your device.

How it happens

The surface manipulation starts with a fresh piece of Gorilla Glass. Specialized chemistry and processes etch away microscopic bits of the glass. Exhaustive experiments and process controls have helped scientists consistently create tiny surface structures with the depth, width, and pitch to manipulate light to achieve the desired results.

We have invested significantly in understanding glass surfaces at this microscopic level. That’s how our scientists have learned just how deep to make nanostructures to have the light-suppressing properties for the Anti-Reflective Solution – and how slightly larger structures result in the light-scattering properties of Anti-Glare.

Once the glass has gone through its etching, it moves on to the ion-exchange process to develop the tough, damage-resistant properties consumers have come to expect from Gorilla Glass.

Our innovators continue to deepen their fundamental understanding of surface engineering. Investments in advanced metrology techniques and other process controls equip the company to meet the challenge of extremely uniform production on a large scale.