Washington DC: A team of American and Korean researchers have developed an ultrathin film that is both transparent and highly conductive to electric current.
The nanofiber film, developed by the researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University, establishes a 'world-record combination of high transparency and low electrical resistance,' the latter at least 10-fold greater than the previous existing record.
The film, which is 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 touch screen displays, wearable electronics, flexible solar cells and electronic skin.
"It's important, but difficult, to make materials that are both transparent and conductive," says Alexander Yarin, one of the corresponding authors on the publication.
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 nanofibre 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 electrospinning and electroplating are both relatively high-throughout, commercially viable processes that take only a few seconds each, according to the researchers.
The study has been published in the June 13 issue of Advanced Materials.
(With Agency inputs)