We report a comprehensive study of transparent and conductive silver nanowire (Ag NW) electrodes, including a scalable fabrication process,...
We report a comprehensive study of transparent and conductive silver nanowire (Ag NW) electrodes, including a scalable fabrication process, morphologies, and optical, mechanical adhesion, and flexibility properties, and various routes to improve the performance. We utilized a synthesis specifically designed for long and thin wires for improved performance in terms of sheet resistance and optical transmittance. Twenty ohm/sq and 80% specular transmittance, and 8 ohms/sq and 80% diffusive transmittance in the visible range are achieved, which fall in the same range as the best indium tin oxide (ITO) samples on plastic substrates for flexible electronics
and solar cells. The Ag NW electrodes show optical transparencies superior to ITO for near-infrared wavelengths (2-
fold higher transmission). Owing to light scattering effects, the Ag NW network has the largest difference between
diffusive transmittance and specular transmittance when compared with ITO and carbon nanotube electrodes, a
property which could greatly enhance solar cell performance. A mechanical study shows that Ag NW electrodes on
flexible substrates show excellent robustness when subjected to bending. We also study the electrical conductance
of Ag nanowires and their junctions and report a facile electrochemical method for a Au coating to reduce the wireto-
wire junction resistance for better overall film conductance. Simple mechanical pressing was also found to
increase the NW film conductance due to the reduction of junction resistance. The overall properties of transparent
Ag NW electrodes meet the requirements of transparent electrodes for many applications and could be an
immediate ITO replacement for flexible electronics and solar cells.