How Corning helps put professional-grade photography in the palm of your hand
By increasing light capture while resisting scratches, Corning® Gorilla® Glass with DX/DX+ for camera lens covers advances the ultimate experience in mobile photography.
Each time we use our smartphones as photographers, we are “drawing with light.”
How well we preserve our precious moments depends largely on how much light reaches a camera’s sensors. The more photons of light that arrive, the more data a sensor can use to recreate what’s truly in front of our eyes.
But there’s an important barrier light must pass through first: the camera lens’s protective glass cover.
If that cover bounces light, reflecting it away from the sensor, we lose data. If the cover is scratched or damaged, incoming light can be distorted, causing flares and other aberrations on our photos.
Corning scientists developed a family of glass composites that solves for both challenges: Corning® Gorilla® Glass with DX and Corning® Gorilla® Glass with DX+. When applied to camera lens covers, Corning’s solutions capture up to 99% of ambient light while harnessing the legendary scratch resistance and toughness of Gorilla Glass.
The science behind better mobile photography
What makes Corning’s approach better than typical glass covers?
“It’s all about our proven glass composite technologies and how we layer them into the cover glass product,” says Lori Hamilton, division vice president and technology director, Gorilla Glass.
Compared to typical glass covers, Corning’s glass composites offer superior anti-reflective qualities, encouraging more light to pass through to the camera’s sensors. We can enjoy professional-grade photos that pop with vivid color and sharpness.
While a typical glass cover reflects about 4% of light, Corning’s glass composites reduce that reflectance to about 1%. Even at dusk, we’re able to capture images like this from a mobile device:
But, no matter how much light gets captured, or how advanced our smartphone’s processor is, if the camera’s cover glass is damaged, the resulting photos will likely have defects.
“If you get a scratch, it just defeats the purpose of all that capability,” says Hamilton. “That’s why the toughness of Gorilla Glass is such a crucial component of the technology.”
The composite’s durability helps support outstanding scratch resistance and drop performance, which can prevent disappointing photos.
“With the importance of the camera to consumers, protecting it is critical,” says Joey Lee, division vice president and business director, Gorilla® Glass Solutions. “Your phone is constantly going in and out of pockets and bags with keys and coins, so there’s a need for a durable product on the camera lens. Even if you’re just taking pictures at home of your kids, you want the quality to be the best it can be. And if you’re taking professional photos with your mobile device, that’s when durability becomes vital.”
The composite’s evolution
Corning launched its DX/DX+ composites for smartwatches back in 2018. But the team knew more opportunities awaited.
“We were looking at other applications for the DX/DX+ product,” says Alex Mayolet, technology director, Gorilla Glass Solutions. “The trend was toward this desire for better optics on cameras because everyone was constantly taking photos for social media.”
What better proving ground for durability and optical performance than the POV-style action cameras often attached to the helmets of extreme sports athletes?
“That was our first application for the technology on camera lens covers,” remembers Mayolet. “Once we proved it could be successful on this niche style of action camera, we were able to turn to mobile device cameras to unlock the same properties – the combination of durability and outstanding optics.”
The journey continues
What’s next in Corning’s quest to transform light into treasured memories?
“There’s always more innovation to do,” says Mayolet. "Like, how do we capture 99.9% of light? Is it possible? Anything is possible. We have a good team at Corning making these innovations reality.”
Hamilton agrees, noting it’s Corning’s nature to look at challenges through the lens of possibility.
“It really speaks to the creativity of not only our technical teams looking at how the attributes can be optimized, but also our commercial teams constantly looking for potential applications and asking, ‘what if we made this tweak? Could we do this?’ That’s a very Corning story.”