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The MGS Precious Metals Blog

Manhattan Gold & Silver is an industry leader in precious metal pricing and refining with more than 30 years of experience. During our time in the business, we’ve found the topic of precious metals to be a vast and interesting one. Here on our precious metals blog, we write in-depth posts about the science of precious metal refining, historical and modern uses for precious metals, market news, and much more. Subscribe to our RSS feed to stay current, and discuss the latest posts on our Facebook page.

How Silver Is Used to Make Folding Phone Screens

August 21, 2019 07:00
How Silver Is Used to Make Folding Phone Screens

It's still early days for the technology, but it looks like folding touchscreen displays for TVs, smartphones, and other gadgets are going to be the next big thing in consumer electronics. Manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, Nokia, and others are still troubleshooting the best materials to use in flexible display technology – and silver definitely looks promising.

Touchscreen technology works by using tiny electrodes on the surface of the screen to receive input from a user's fingers. Currently, more than 90% of touchscreen electrodes are made with indium tin oxide (ITO). But in a flexible display designed to bend forward and backward repeatedly, the ITO electrodes crack – lowering image fidelity and causing the touchscreen to lose input sensitivity. Substituting ITO with a material that would be conducive to flexing without sacrificing electrical conductivity has been one of the challenges in designing a mass-market flexible display.

With its flexibility, conductivity, and formability, silver is a nearly perfect replacement for ITO in making the touch-sensitive electrodes in folding screens. But, there is one critical drawback: opacity. Similar to the struggles that solar panel designers have faced with silver wiring blocking incoming sunlight, the network of silver electrodes can block the display’s outgoing light – reducing the perceived color and sharpness of the image.

However, there may be a way to overcome silver’s opacity issues. In our next post, we’ll explain how some manufactures are planning to use silver metamaterial to bring flexible displays even closer to reality.

Tech Innovations Made Possible with Silver in 2018

March 13, 2019 07:00
Tech Innovations Made Possible with Silver in 2018

In addition to being a store of value, silver is a metal with lots of useful physical and chemical properties. It's antimicrobial, has a high level of plasticity, and has the best thermal and electrical conductivity of any metal on the periodic table. These characteristics (to name only a few) place silver at the forefront of raw materials used in the development of new technologies across a variety of industries.

According to the Silver Institute, electronic and electrical applications are expected to drive a higher demand for silver in 2019. To give you an idea of how this industry sector uses silver, here are some new technologies that were made possible in 2018 thanks to this precious metal.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) scientists designed an ingest-able capsule that can carry and release dosages of medicine via commands received over a Bluetooth connection. By equipping additional sensors, scientists hope that the capsule can also be used detect infections, allergic reactions, gastric juices, fever or other conditions - and then release a drug in response. To ensure it will be able to function in the body for months at a time, the capsule uses silver-oxide battery technology to achieve the ratio of power capacity to size.

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee (IITRoorkee, India), have developed an eco-friendly nanocomposite made with silver nitrate and Kappa Carrageenan – a polymer derived from red seaweed that is used as a thickening and emulsifying agent in foodstuffs. The nanocomposite substance is capable of penetrating the bacterial biofilms that form on medical equipment like catheters and ventilators to kill microbes and prevent infections.

Scientists from the Singapore University of Design and Technology developed a new material that improves the light absorption capabilities of solar panels. Dubbed "Black Silver," the material consists of silver particles arranged in a nanoscale structure that allows it capture greater amounts of visible and infrared light.

Perth Mint Launches New Series of Bullion Coins based on The Simpsons

March 6, 2019 07:00
Perth Mint Launches New Series of Bullion Coins based on The Simpsons

During the 47th World Money Fair in Berlin, Germany, The Perth Mint of Australia unveiled a new series of silver bullion coins based on The Simpsons animated television show. Officially licensed by 20th Century Fox, each coin in the series is struck from 99.99% pure silver. The reverse side of the coins depict iconic characters and motif's from the show, while the obverse side features the standard design elements found on the Gold Kangaroo, and several of Australia's other bullion coins: the likeness of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the 2019 year-date, and the coin's weight, fineness, and monetary denomination.

Currently, only the first 3 coins in the series are available in limited quantities:

“Homer Simpson” 1oz Silver Coin
No more than 25,000 of these coins will be released. Just 1,000 coins are available in Australia, while the remaining 24,000 are available worldwide through international dealers. The reverse side features Homer in his classic "D'oh!" pose. But, if the price of silver continues trending upward, lucky owners will be shouting a triumphant “Woo-hoo!” as the coins increase in value.

“Donut” 1oz Silver Coin
No more than 3,000 of these coins will be released worldwide. The reverse side features a colorized design of Homer’s favorite flavor donut – pink frosting with sprinkles. For a true donut-shape, the center of the coin is stamped out.

“The Simpson Family” 2oz Silver Coin
No more than 2,000 of these coins will be released worldwide. The reverse is embossed with an image of the Simpsons’ household, with the entire Simpsons family posing together in color.

If you’re a Simpsons fan AND a numismatist, these coins will add a fun twist to your collection or hard-asset portfolio. But if you want to collect them all, you’ll need to move fast. The release schedule for the rest of the coins in the series is as follows:

  • March 2019 – “Bart” 1oz Silver Coin
  • May 2019 – “Homer” (alternate design) 1oz Silver Coin
  • July 2019 – “Marge” 1oz Silver Coin
  • September 2019 – “Lisa” 1oz Silver Coin
  • November 2019 – “Maggie” 1oz Silver Coin
  • TBA – “Duff Beer” 1oz Silver Coin
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