Into The Void Science - JUNE 2018 - Issue #2

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3×10 Femtoseconds of Fame Real Scientists Explain Their Work

Transparent Conductors Dr. Hugh G. Manning, Boland Research Group

AMBER Centre & School of Chemistry Trinity College Dublin, Republic of Ireland Transparent conductors are the not so well known, but vitally important, optically transparent and electrically conductive layer in touch-panels, screens, solar cells etc. The material which has typically been used for this application is called indium tin oxide, or ITO. The problem with ITO is that it’s expensive and it’s very brittle, so no good for flexible applications. Over the past 5 years, and funded by the European Research Council we have been looking at a new material called a nanowire network. A nanowire is a wire, just on the nanoscale. It has a diameter which is about 1000 times the width of a human hair.

elements like touch-panels, screens, lighting, solar cells, and more. One area of our research involves measuring the properties of the nanowire, we work with our collaborators in the school of physics to build computational models which predict the performance of these materials and look at ways of improving them. We make precise electrical measurements on the junctions, the overlap between two nanowires, if this connection is very good the network performance is good if the connection is bad it needs to be improved. You can contact Hugh on: manninh@tcd.ie

We deposit nanowires made of silver onto a surface and form a network. We use a simple spray deposition process which allows us to put these networks onto plastics. Due to the size of the wires and the gaps between them they let a lot of light through. This makes them transparent and because they are made of silver they can be highly electrically conductive. These network materials are also very flexible and can be bent or rolled and stretched while still being electrically conductive. This allows us to think of new types of devices which have flexible

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