Coat-and-print patterning of silver nanowires for flexible and transparent electronics

Weiwei Li, Azat Meredov, Atif Shamim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations

Abstract

Silver nanowires (Ag NWs) possess excellent optoelectronic properties, which have led to many technology-focused applications of transparent and flexible electronics. Many of these applications require patterning of Ag NWs into desired shapes, for which mask-based and printing-based techniques have been developed and widely used. However, there are still several limitations associated to these techniques. These limitations, such as complicated patterning procedures, limited patterning area, and compromised optical transparency, hamper the efficient fabrication of high-performance Ag NW patterns. Here, we propose a coat-and-print approach for effectively patterning Ag NWs. We printed a polymer-based ink on the spin-coated Ag NW films. The ink acts as a protective layer to help remove excess Ag NWs from the substrate and then dissolves itself into an organic solvent. In this way, we can take advantage of both coating-based techniques (lead to Ag NWs with high transparency) and printing-based techniques (efficiently pattern diverse shapes). The resultant Ag NW patterns exhibit comparable conductivity (sheet resistance: 7.1 to 30 Ohm/sq) and transparency (transmittance: 84 to 95% at λ = 550 nm) to those made by conventional coating methods. In addition, the patterned Ag NWs exhibit robust mechanical stability and reliability, surviving extensive bending and peeling tests. Due to higher conductivity, efficient patterning ability and inherent transparency, this material system and application method is highly suitable for transparent and flexible electronics. As a proof of concept, this research demonstrates a wide-band antenna, operating in the mm-wave range that includes the 5G communication band. The proposed antenna exhibits a wide bandwidth of 26 GHz (from 17.9 GHz to 44 GHz), robust return loss under 1000 cyclic bending (bending radius of 3.5 mm), and decent transparency over the entire visible wavelength (86.8% transmittance at λ = 550 nm). This work’s promising results indicate that this method can be adapted for roll-to-roll manufacturing to efficiently produce patterned and optically transparent devices.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Journalnpj Flexible Electronics
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 10 2019

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