Hybrid Material for Flexible and Transparent Electronics
Displays are everywhere around us as entertain us, provide information, and let us know who is calling, and many of these displays rely on indium tin oxide (ITO). The reason this material is so common is that it is transparent and conductive; an uncommon combination. Researchers at Purdue University decided to produce a combination of their own that looks to possibly replace ITO, while also bringing the valuable property of flexibility.
For our displays to be thin, they need transparent electrodes to conduct electrons to the pixels we see, but not just any transparent conductor will work. The reason ITO is predominately used is because it is highly conductive while also being very transparent; the winning combination. Other materials, such as silver nanowires and even graphene, are transparent and conductive, but have faults that make them unusable in displays. The chaotic alignment of the nanowires and boundaries between cells in graphene increase the materials' resistances too much to be useful on their own. The researchers decided to combine the two and found that together, they overcome these issues.
Actually, the hybrid material does more than just overcome its components individual issues as it has a fraction of the electrical resistance of ITO. Also important is that the hybrid material would likely be cheaper than ITO to use, as indium is a rather rare element.
Source: Purdue University