New ITO Thin Film Production Method FoundCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: August 14, 2012 10:00AM
For touchscreen displays and solar panels, a transparent conductor is needed on the surface. Currently the material of choice for the conductor is indium tin oxide (ITO), which is not very cheap to produce. Thin films of ITO could work but are challenging to make as conductive as required, while also being inexpensive, but researchers at Brown University and ATMI Inc. may have found a solution.
The trick was to find the proper combination of chemicals that will produce ITO crystals during spin casting, one of the fastest production methods. This discovery allows the researchers to create sheets of thin films just 146 nm thick and 93% transparent, while still being conductive enough for resistive touchscreens. The researchers made the thin films on both glass and a flexible polyimide (a specific family of polymers) so this technique could be used for flexible electronics in the future.
There is still some work to do though, as the researchers want to increase the conductivity of the thin film amongst other things. Also they hope to transfer this process to inkjet and roll-to-roll printing methods which can produce fine patterns, instead of sheets.