Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Innovation could bring flexible solar cells, transistors, displays

23.05.2013
Researchers have created a new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing.

The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with a material called graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon. The hybrid material shows promise as a possible replacement for indium tin oxide, or ITO, used in transparent electrodes for touch-screen monitors, cell-phone displays and flat-screen televisions. Industry is seeking alternatives to ITO because of drawbacks: It is relatively expensive due to limited abundance of indium, and it is inflexible and degrades over time, becoming brittle and hindering performance.

"If you try to bend ITO it cracks and then stops functioning properly," said Purdue University doctoral student Suprem Das.

The hybrid material could represent a step toward innovations, including flexible solar cells and color monitors, flexible "heads-up" displays in car windshields and information displays on eyeglasses and visors.
"The key innovation is a material that is transparent, yet electrically conductive and flexible," said David Janes, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Research findings were detailed in a paper appearing online in April in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. The paper is available online at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adfm.201300124/full. It was authored by Das; visiting student Ruiyi Chen; graduate students Changwook Jeong and Mohammad Ryyan Khan; Janes and Muhammad A. Alam, a Purdue professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The hybrid concept was proposed in earlier publications by Purdue researchers, including a 2011 paper in the journal Nano Letters. The concept represents a general approach that could apply to many other materials, said Alam, who co-authored the Nano Letters paper.

"This is a beautiful illustration of how theory enables a fundamental new way to engineer material at the nanoscale and tailor its properties," he said.

Such hybrid structures could enable researchers to overcome the "electron-transport bottleneck" of extremely thin films, referred to as two-dimensional materials.

Combining graphene and silver nanowires in a hybrid material overcomes drawbacks of each material individually: the graphene and nanowires conduct electricity with too much resistance to be practical for transparent electrodes. Sheets of graphene are made of individual segments called grains, and resistance increases at the boundaries between these grains. Silver nanowires, on the other hand, have high resistance because they are randomly oriented like a jumble of toothpicks facing in different directions. This random orientation makes for poor contact between nanowires, resulting in high resistance.

"So neither is good for conducting electricity, but when you combine them in a hybrid structure, they are," Janes said.

The graphene is draped over the silver nanowires.

"It's like putting a sheet of cellophane over a bowl of noodles," Janes said. "The graphene wraps around the silver nanowires and stretches around them."

Findings show the material has a low "sheet resistance," or the electrical resistance in very thin layers of material, which is measured in units called "squares." At 22 ohms per square, it is five times better than ITO, which has a sheet resistance of 100 ohms per square.

Moreover, the hybrid structure was found to have little resistance change when bent, whereas ITO shows dramatic increases in resistance when bent.

"The generality of the theoretical concept underlying this experimental demonstration – namely 'percolation-doping' -- suggests that it is likely to apply to a broad range of other 2-D nanocrystaline material, including graphene," Alam said.

A patent application has been filed by Purdue's Office of Technology Commercialization.

Writer: Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu

Sources: David Janes, 765-494-9263, janes@purdue.edu

Suprem Das, srdas@purdue.edu

Muhammad A. Alam, 765-494-5988, alam@ecn.purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: A copy of the research paper is available by contacting Emil Venere, 765-494-4709, venere@purdue.edu.

Emil Venere | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht Multitasking monolayers
25.07.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces
25.07.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung IPA

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>