But at that time, the performance of the film was not good enough for practical applications because the wires clumped together. The new way of growing the copper nanowires and coating them on glass surfaces eliminates the clumping problem, Wiley said.
He and Rathmell also created the new copper nanowires to maintain their conductivity and form when bent back and forth 1,000 times. In contrast, ITO films' conduction and structure break after a few bends.
Wiley said the low-cost, high-performance, and flexibility of copper nanowires make them a natural choice for use in the next generation of displays and solar cells. He co-founded a company called NanoForge Corp in 2010 to manufacture copper nanowires for commercial applications.
In early 2011, NanoForge received a $45,000 North Carolina IDEA grant for refinement and scale-up of the manufacturing process of copper nanowires, and it is now filling orders.
With continuing development, copper nanowires could be in screens and solar cells in the next few years, which could lead to lighter and more reliable displays and also to making solar energy more competitive with fossil fuels, Wiley said.
|Contact: Ashley Yeager|