The Future of Technology Lies in the Hands of Silver Nanowire Infused Conductive Ink

Flexible thin films and transparent electrodes will soon pave the way for groundbreaking devices such as foldable screens, transparent solar cells, flexible solar panels, e-textiles, thin-film photovoltaics, flexible antennas, and much more. But what is making this breakthrough possible?

The answer lies in Silver Nanowire infused conductive inks. Currently, many of our devices are dependent on electrodes made from a conductive material known as indium tin oxide (ITO). They have been used extensively and have made a huge impact on the production of touchscreen devices. However, ITO is very brittle, is expensive to source and process.

Before we dive into Silver Nanowire infused conductive inks, let us first understand the issue with ITO.

The Problem with Current Conductive Material

To understand the problem better, let’s take the example of a smartphone touchscreen. It has glass on the outside and two layers of ITO. These thin layers conduct tiny amounts of electric current and are transparent to light. The smartphone display lies underneath all these layers.

When the user touches the display, the pressure bends the glass slightly to push the two layers of indium tin oxide closer together. Even though the touchscreen responds to the user’s touch, it is brittle and not durable enough to withstand drops. This also makes it unsuitable for flexible displays that are the future of electronics. What’s more, indium is a rare element and needs to be utilized wisely as there is a possibility of exhausting the resource.

What is Conductive Ink?

Conductive ink is a type of ink that contains an infusion of Silver Nanowires in a host liquid. It can be used to print electronics on almost any surface. It has high electrical conductivity, good enough to form high-functioning circuits without the need for applying high heat. Due to this feature of Silver Nanowires inks, we can have printable electronics on heat-sensitive materials like plastic or paper.

How are Silver Nanowire Infused Conductive Inks Prepared?

Silver Nanowires are first suspended in a host liquid. To prevent Silver Nanowires from clustering in the suspension, they are conjugated with a ligand. The host liquid and the choice of ligand will affect the suspension’s hydrophilicity on a substrate and it’s viscosity. These factors must be considered while choosing a substrate that will be used with conductive inks and the deposition process.

After depositing the Silver Nanowire suspension, the liquid is evaporated and a solid conductor is used to fuse the metal nanowires in it. This may involve a low-temperature process such as UV exposure and optically-assisted sintering or a high-temperature process like annealing.

Advantages of Silver Nanowire Infused Conductive Inks

Silver Nanowire infused Conductive Inks offer the following advantages:

  • Ability to withstand tough cyclic loads for a long duration
  • Extremely lightweight
  • High flexibility
  • High electrical conductivity
  • Offers a low-cost solution for many applications compared to ITO coatings
  • Screen printable
  • Low-temperature post-processing
  • Compatible with planar and non-planar substrates

Producing Devices with Silver Nanowires – The Future of Technology!

Producing flexible thin films, conductive electrodes, and cutting-edge devices can be made possible with Silver Nanowires. The reason being, Silver is fifty times more conductive than ITO and can be used to create a wide range of devices [1]. The production of Silver Nanowire devices is also predicted to be cheaper.

Speaking of fabrication methods, Silver Nanowires take the lead here as well. ITO is spread on a touchscreen material and the process is known as “sputtering”. It involves vaporizing the ITO. This process is not too effective because 70% of the material ends up on the wall of the sputtering chamber. It must be then removed from the wall to be reused, causing a waste of time and resources.

Furthermore, since the sputtering process involves a lot of heat, ITO cannot be applied to a flexible plastic surface. A Silver Nanowire infused conductive ink solution can be used instead to spray on the sheet of the insulating material. This process is known as roll-to-roll coating and can be used for the production of solar panel components and conductive thin films, which can be further used to create transparent solar cells.

With such incredible benefits that Silver Nanowires can offer to devices, it makes us wonder what could be next!

Evolve Your Technological Applications with Nanorbital

Nanorbital is a culmination of over 20 years of experience and exposure to the global chemical industry. We at Nanorbital develop and facilitate the adoption of Silver Nanowires to push technological boundaries and improve the quality of life. Our experts are deeply involved with Silver Nanowires synthesis, and we work together with our customers to create a high value for humankind and gear up for the life of the future.

If you want to revolutionize your technological applications with Silver Nanowires, look no further. Simply drop us an email at email@nanorbital.com or call us on +91-93279 08826.

Our Silver Nanowires are ideal for a wide range of applications such as Touch screens for smartphones, tablets, and wearable electronics, solar cells, solar panels, thin-film photovoltaics, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), Flexible displays, OLED devices, OLED lighting, liquid crystal displays, and much more.

We also provide our materials to a global customer base, offering flexible delivery services that range from samples to high volume production. Get in touch with us today and we will tailor our services and products to meet your specification. We look forward to hearing from you!

Source:

[1] Peter Byrley, “Making flexible electronics with nanowire networks” – https://bit.ly/3nqonGv

[2] Simon Fried, “3D Printing PCBs with Conductive Inks: Advantages and Disadvantages” – https://bit.ly/376F83N

[3] “Conductive Ink” – https://bit.ly/2Lzo2Dj