Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New nanomaterial offers promise in bendable, wearable electronic devices

13.06.2016

Electroplated polymer makes transparent, highly conductive, ultrathin film

An ultrathin film that is both transparent and highly conductive to electric current has been produced by a cheap and simple method devised by an international team of nanomaterials researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University.


Highly conductive ultrathin film on skin between clips.

Credit: SAM YOON/KOREA UNIVERSITY

The film -- actually a mat of tangled nanofiber, electroplated to form a "self-junctioned copper nano-chicken wire" -- is also bendable and stretchable, offering potential applications in roll-up touchscreen displays, wearable electronics, flexible solar cells and electronic skin.

The finding is reported in the June 13 issue of Advanced Materials.

"It's important, but difficult, to make materials that are both transparent and conductive," says Alexander Yarin, UIC Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, one of two corresponding authors on the publication.

The new film establishes a "world-record combination of high transparency and low electrical resistance," the latter at least 10-fold greater than the previous existing record, said Sam Yoon, who is also a corresponding author and a professor of mechanical engineering at Korea University.

The film also retains its properties after repeated cycles of severe stretching or bending, Yarin said -- an important property for touchscreens or wearables.

Manufacture begins by electrospinning a nanofiber mat of polyacrylonitrile, or PAN, whose fibers are about one-hundredth the diameter of a human hair. The fiber shoots out like a rapidly coiling noodle, which when deposited onto a surface intersects itself a million times, Yarin said.

"The nanofiber spins out in a spiral cone, but forms fractal loops in flight," Yarin said. "The loops have loops, so it gets very long and very thin."

The naked PAN polymer doesn't conduct, so it must first be spatter-coated with a metal to attract metal ions. The fiber is then electroplated with copper -- or silver, nickel or gold.

The electrospinning and electroplating are both relatively high-throughput, commercially viable processes that take only a few seconds each, according to the researchers.

"We can then take the metal-plated fibers and transfer to any surface -- the skin of the hand, a leaf, or glass," Yarin said. An additional application may be as a nano-textured surface that dramatically increases cooling efficiency.

Yoon said the "self-fusion" by electroplating at the fiber junctions "dramatically reduced the contact resistance." Yarin noted that the metal-plated junctions facilitated percolation of the electric current -- and also account for the nanomaterial's physical resiliency.

"But most of it is holes," he said, which makes it 92 percent transparent. "You don't see it."

###

Co-authors include Yoon's predoctoral student Seongpil An of Korea University, Mark T. Swihart of the State University of New York at Buffalo, and others.

Funding was provided by the National Research Foundation of Korea.

Media Contact

Bill Burton
burton@uic.edu
312-996-2269

 @uicnews

http://www.uic.edu 

Bill Burton | EurekAlert!

More articles from Materials Sciences:

nachricht An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk
20.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

nachricht Treated carbon pulls radioactive elements from water
20.01.2017 | Rice University

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>