I’ve often wondered, myself, about how the market/application for Corning’s “other glass” (i.e., Willow Glass) is different than Gorilla Glass, and it seems that a lot of other people have been a little perplexed about the differences, too.

As Dipak Chowdhury, a company VP and Willow Glass program director, explains here, the two compliment each other in many electronics-oriented applications that require strength, durability, flexibility, touch sensor interface, etc. He describes how most touchscreen systems are currently made with four layers of glass (backplane, color filter, touch sensor, and front cover plane), and Willow can serve for all but the cover layer, where Gorilla Glass serves best. Put simply, Chowdhury says that GG provides a tough, damage resistant layer while WG is thin, light, and durable.

He goes on to discuss how WG will influence electronics design. Although he cautions that WG’s renown for flexibility won’t immediately translate into flexible electronics, it could quickly be used in curved, custom displays that are not subjected to constant flexing.

Chowdhury also discusses a specific specialty application for WG: rolls of photovoltaic roofing materials.

Interesting stuff.

And, in a bonus video (below), Lori Hamilton, who leads Corning’s high-performance displays work, discusses more about another Corning product, Lotus Glass, in the context of glass backplane evolution in electronics and the shift from amorphous silicon (a-Si) to polysilicon (p-Si) to metal oxides.

Hamilton discusses some of the processing challenges, but to appreciate the context for this, consider Apple’s touted high-resolution “Retina Display.” The level of resolution found in, say, an iPad with Retina Display cannot be achieved with a-Si because electrons move too slowly. Apple, instead, uses a p-Si backplane, probably made by Corning, but p-Si has a reputation for being expensive. Therefore, Apple and competitors (e.g., Samsung and Sharp) are looking for low-cost and/or lowpower-demand alternatives to p-Si backplanes. Glass with thin film metal oxide transistor technologies are eyed as the next generation (if not in use already in some products), such as a mix of indium, gallium, and zinc oxides (IGZO). Compositions of  HIZO, IZO, TZO, and ZNO are also be tested. Metal oxide backplanes are also of interest for OLED applications.