As the market for liquid crystal displays and other electronics continues to drive up the price of indium (the material used to make the indium tin oxide (ITO) transparent electrodes in these devices) scientists have been searching for a less costly and more dynamic alternative, particularly for use in future flexible electronics.
Researchers at UCLA report that they have developed a unique method for producing transparent electrodes that uses silver nanowires in combination with other nanomaterials. The new electrodes are flexible and highly conductive and overcome the limitations associated with ITO.
UCLA researchers demonstrated that by fusing AgNWs with metal-oxide nanoparticles and organic polymers, they could efficiently produce highly transparent conductors.
First, researchers sprayed a solution of commercially available silver nanowires onto a surface. They then treated the nanowires with a solution of titanium dioxide nanoparticles to create a hybrid film. As the film dries, capillary forces pull the nanowires together, improving the film's conductivity. The scientists then coated the film with a layer of conductive polymer to increase the wires' adhesion to the surface.
The AgNW composite meshes are highly conductive, with excellent optical transparency and mechanical properties.
The research received support from the Office of Naval Research and the Kavli Foundation.
University of California - Los Angeles (2011, November 22). Highly efficient method for creating flexible, transparent electrodes developed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2011, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2011/11/111122113259.htm