Transparent Electrodes Based on Silver Nanowire Networks: From Physical Considerations towards Device Integration
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The past few years have seen a considerable amount of research devoted to nanostructured transparent conducting materials (TCM), which play a pivotal role in many modern devices such as solar cells, flexible light-emitting devices, touch screens, electromagnetic devices, and flexible transparent thin film heaters. Currently, the most commonly used TCM for such applications (ITO: Indium Tin oxide) suffers from two major drawbacks: brittleness and indium scarcity. Among emerging transparent electrodes, silver nanowire (AgNW) networks appear to be a promising substitute to ITO since such electrically percolating networks exhibit excellent properties with sheet resistance lower than 10 Ω/sq and optical transparency of 90%, fulfilling the requirements of most applications. In addition, AgNW networks also exhibit very good mechanical flexibility. The fabrication of these electrodes involves low-temperature processing steps and scalable methods, thus making them appropriate for future use as low-cost transparent electrodes in flexible electronic devices. This contribution aims to briefly present the main properties of AgNW based transparent electrodes as well as some considerations relating to their efficient integration in devices. The influence of network density, nanowire sizes, and post treatments on the properties of AgNW networks will also be evaluated. In addition to a general overview of AgNW networks, we focus on two important aspects: (i) network instabilities as well as an efficient Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) coating which clearly enhances AgNW network stability and (ii) modelling to better understand the physical properties of these networks.
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