, Volume 5, Issue 11, pp 805-814

Solution-processed flexible transparent conductors composed of silver nanowire networks embedded in indium tin oxide nanoparticle matrices

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Abstract

Although silver nanowire meshes have already demonstrated sheet resistance and optical transmittance comparable to those of sputter-deposited indium tin oxide thin films, other critical issues including surface morphology, mechanical adhesion and flexibility have to be addressed before widely employing silver nanowire networks as transparent conductors in optoelectronic devices. Here, we demonstrate the efficacy of low temperature solution-processed flexible metal nanowire networks embedded in a conductive metal oxide nanoparticle matrix as transparent conductors, and investigate their microstructural, optoelectronic, and mechanical properties in attempting to resolve nearly all of the technological issues imposed on silver nanowire networks. Surrounding silver nanowires by conductive indium tin oxide nanoparticles offers low wire to wire junction resistance, smooth surface morphology, and excellent mechanical adhesion and flexibility while maintaining the high transmittance and the low sheet resistance. In addition, we discuss the relationship between sheet resistance and transmittance in the silver nanowire composite transparent conductors and their maximum achievable transmittance. Although we have selected silver nanowires and indium tin oxide nanoparticle matrix as demonstration materials, we anticipate that various metal nanowire meshes embedded in various conductive metal oxide nanoparticle matrices can effectively serve as transparent conductors for a wide variety of optoelectronic devices owing to their superior performance, simple, cost-effective, and gentle processing.

Graphical abstract