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Flexible solar cells and displays may be possible with transparent electrode

Washington, May 23 : A new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing has been created.


The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with a material called graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon. The hybrid material shows promise as a possible replacement for indium tin oxide, or ITO, used in transparent electrodes for touch-screen monitors, cell-phone displays and flat-screen televisions. Industry is seeking alternatives to ITO because of drawbacks: It is relatively expensive due to limited abundance of indium, and it is inflexible and degrades over time, becoming brittle and hindering performance.

The hybrid material could represent a step toward innovations, including flexible solar cells and color monitors, flexible "heads-up" displays in car windshields and information displays on eyeglasses and visors.

"The key innovation is a material that is transparent, yet electrically conductive and flexible," said David Janes, a professor of electrical and computer engineering.

The hybrid concept was proposed in earlier publications by Purdue researchers, including a 2011 paper in the journal Nano Letters.

Such hybrid structures could enable researchers to overcome the "electron-transport bottleneck" of extremely thin films, referred to as two-dimensional materials.

A patent application has been filed by Purdue's Office of Technology Commercialization.

Research findings were detailed in a paper published in the journal Advanced Functional Materials.

--ANI (Posted on 23-05-2013)

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