New Nanowire Developed for Printable ElectronicsCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: May 31, 2012 07:57AM
The ultimate goal of many researchers at the moment is to develop the required technologies to create printable electronics. This is not an easy task though as the components have to be very flexible and, in some cases, transparent as well. One possibility has been copper nanowires, but like larger pieces of the metal, corrosion turns the wires green, and before that the orange tint makes them unsuitable for a transparent screen.
Researchers at Duke University have discovered that they can combine copper and nickel to create nanowires that not only are not an intrusive color but also conduct better than several other materials. Both copper and silver nanowires are bested by the new material as it can last for 400 years before losing 50% of its electrical conductivity. Silver nanowires only last for about three years and copper nanowires three months before they are at 50% off their original conductance.
Unfortunately, copper-nickel nanowires and films will not unseat the current leader in transparent conductors, indium tin oxide (ITO). This material is used is practically all display screens as it conducts electricity to the different pixels without blocking too much light. Indium costs between $600 and $800 a kilogram and with the primary source for the rare metal being China, many want to find an alternative before prices get too high.