Nanotech 2010

Uniform, highly conductive, and patterned transparent films of silver nanowires on rigid and flexible substrates for transparent and conductive electrodes

A. Kumar
University of Southern California, US

Keywords: silver nanowires, transparent, conductive electrodes


Materials with a remarkable combination of high electrical conductivity and optical transparency are important components of many electronic and optoelectronic devices such as display devices, liquid crystal displays, solar cells, and light emitting diodes. Doped-metal oxides such as tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) and fluorine-doped tin oxide (FTO) have been leading candidates for these technological applications. Recently, there has been a quest to look for materials that can replace ITO as the leading TCE. This need mainly arises because of low availability of indium sources (making it an expensive material), its brittleness and hence limited applicability in flexible electronic devices, and high temperature processing step required to fabricate it. Towards this objective, there have been serious efforts on using carbon nanotube (CNT) films and solution processed graphene for TCE aplications, however, their performance has been rather low compared to traditional ITO films creating a need to look for another potential materials. Silver nanowire films are a strong alternative to tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) films as transparent conductive electrodes. Herein, we report PDMS-assisted transfer printing technique to obtain highly uniform silver nanowire films on both rigid and flexible substrates. Nanowire films prepared using our method exhibit superior adhesion to the underlying substrate. Our method also allows for unprecedented ability to obtain high quality patterned films of silver nanowires with different line widths and shapes in a matter of few minutes, making it a scalable process. Use of anodized aluminum oxide (AAO) membrane in the transfer process allows annealing of nanowire films at moderately high temperature to obtain films with extreme high conductivity and good transparency. Transparency and conductivity of the films can be controlled by manipulating the nanowire amount in the starting solution. Using our transfer technique, we obtain silver nanowire films on flexible polyethylene terephthalate (PET) substrate with a transparency of 85 % and sheet resistance of 10 ohms/square which exhibits high tolerance to bending test.
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