Trends in Anti-fingerprint Coatings using Advanced & Nano-sized Materials
Consider the possibility of using your smartphone, tablet, automotive display, or stainless-steel refrigerator without leaving fingerprints behind, or being able to easily wipe them away. This reality is highly sought after by coating manufacturers and is becoming a stronger likelihood with anti-fingerprint nanocoatings. In recent years, the way we interact with electronic devices, vehicles, and appliances has been revolutionized with the creation and implementation of touch-based human machine interfaces and displays. Although touch-based surfaces have contributed to greater convenience in our daily activities, concerns surrounding how touch impacts the aesthetics and performance of such surfaces were quickly realized. As we use our fingertips to interact with these interfaces, undesired and unsightly fingerprints are left behind, and this has led to a significant increase in demand for anti-fingerprint nanocoatings.1
It is important to understand the composition of fingerprints in order to realize the range of benefits that incorporating nanoparticles into anti-fingerprint coatings will bring. The fingerprints that contaminate surfaces are mostly water, but also comprise oils, sweat, and cosmetics. The water and oily composition of fingerprints requires researchers to develop coatings that exhibit both hydrophobic and oleophobic properties.2 Coatings incorporating nanoparticles have shown promise meeting these requirements. Those who are skilled in the art of nanoparticle synthesis and design can produce optimized nanoparticles that achieve anti-fingerprint performance in coatings, while also being durable and transparent. For example, coatings comprised of nanoparticles and a binder of fluorinated copolymer have achieved superhydrophobicity and superoleophobicity, are easily adaptable, and can be deposited with a range of chemistries.3 A surface is classified as superhydrophobic and superoleophobic if a contact angle of more than 150° is achieved with a drop of water and a drop of oil on it, respectively. Incorporating these specially designed nanoparticles into coatings can enable additional functionality, including anti-reflectivity, abrasion resistance, anti-scratch, antimicrobial, flame resistance, and solvent, fuel and gas barriers.1
The increasing implementation of touch-based displays in the automotive industry, and an increasing demand for improved aesthetics in the electronics and household care/sanitary industries are driving the anti-fingerprint coating market to look to nanomaterials. The estimated market value for touch sensors as of 2018 is $10 billion, with the potential addressable market for nanomaterials at $125 million – $175 million. It was also predicted that if a successful anti-fingerprint coating technology can be commercialized, an annual coating area of 6,000,000 m2 market will be created. Given this demand, it is no surprise that it is expected that anti-fingerprint nanocoatings will significantly penetrate the market in the next decade.1
While anti-fingerprint nanocoatings have already been adopted to a certain degree, there is still increasing interest in inventing novel anti-fingerprint coatings, as patent applications for products incorporating nanomaterials for this purpose have more than quintupled over the past decade. This non-confidential report details the nanomaterials that are poised to revolutionize the anti-fingerprint nanocoating market based on our extensive market research and voice-of-customer interviews with industry professionals.
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 The Global Market For Nanotechnology And Nanomaterials, 2010-2027. 3 ed., Future Markets, 2017.
 An, Q. et al. The Synthesis and Morphology of a Perfluoroalkyl Oligosiloxane@SiO2 Resin and Its Performance in Anti-Fingerprint Coating. Coatings. 8, 100 (2018).
 Bhushan, B. & Martin, S. Substrate-Independent Superliquiphobic Coatings for Water, Oil, and Surfactant Repellency: An Overview. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 526, 90–105 (2018).