"In this work, we demonstrate a simple and effective solution method to achieve highly conductive AgNW composite films with excellent optical transparency and mechanical properties," said Yang who also directs the Nano Renewable Energy Center at the CNSI. "This is by far the best solution: a processed, transparent electrode that is compatible with a wide variety of substrate choices."
Scientists can easily spray a surface with the nanowires to make a transparent mat, but the challenge is to make the silver nanowires adhere to the surface more securely without the use of extreme temperatures (200 C) or high pressures, steps that make the nanomaterials less compatible with the sensitive organic materials typically used to make flexible electronics.
To meet this challenge, Rui Zhu, the paper's first author, developed a low-temperature method to make high-performance transparent electrodes from silver nanowires using spray coating of a unique combination of nanomaterials.
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 team also built solar cells using the new electrodes and found that their performance was comparable to that of solar cells made with indium tin oxide.
|Contact: Jennifer Marcus|
University of California - Los Angeles