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Peratech has developed a see-through version of its Quantum Tunnelling Composite (QTC) material called QTC Clear.

This force-sensing material can be used to create a new class of force-sensitive touch screens that can completely replace current resistive touch-screen technologies or enhance capacitive ones to create solutions with more features such as 3D input.

Resistive touch-screen manufacturers can upgrade to using QTC Clear and use their existing manufacturing procedures and equipment to produce this new class of force-sensitive touch screens.

Capacitive touch-screen manufacturers can augment with the addition of QTC Clear to provide additional features from the force sensitivity such as touch activation of the capacitive matrix to save power, 3D menus, variable line widths and more intuitive gaming interaction.

Very little alteration is needed to the control electronics in either case, except to take advantage of the new features.

The QTC Clear layer is 6-8um thick with a transparency that is very similar to the existing touch-screen technologies.

This is sandwiched between two layers of ITO (Indium Tin Oxide), which is in turn sandwiched between two hard sheets, typically glass.

It is so sensitive that it can detect deflections of only a few microns so that the top surface can be rigid and robust – for example, glass – unlike current resistive designs that have to be soft enough to deform easily, making them susceptible to damage.

QTC’s properties means that virtually no current flows unless a force is applied.

This overcomes the drawbacks of capacitive designs that constantly draw current and create design challenges to overcome EMI issues.

QTCs are electro-active polymeric materials made from metallic or non-metallic filler particles combined in an elastomeric binder.

These enable the action of ‘touch’ to be translated into an electrical reaction, enabling a vast array of devices to incorporate very thin and highly robust ‘sensing’ of touch and pressure.

QTC’s unique properties enable it to be made into force sensitive switches of any shape or size.

QTC switches and switch matrices can be screen printed allowing for development and integration of switches that are as thin as 75 microns.

QTC is also low power and interfaces can be designed with no start resistance so that without pressure, the switch draws no power and passes no current.

When pressure is applied, the resistance drops in proportion to the amount of pressure, which allows sophisticated human machine interface designs that react to variations in pressure.

QTC technology has no moving parts and requires no air gap between contacts.

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