Silver nanowires (AgNWs) have been effectively proven to function as the next-generation transparent conductive electrodes (TCEs) in organic semiconductor devices. This is mainly due to the factors such as low sheet resistance, high optical transmittance, and low processing cost.
Silver nanowire transparent conductors are key elements in many devices, especially the optoelectronic devices such as LCDs, LEDs, solar cells, touch screens and flexible displays. These conductors possess the unique combination of electrical conductivity and optical transparency, enabling the extraction of electrical carriers while transmitting light through the layer.
For the past few decades, doped metallic oxides, mainly indium tin oxide (ITO), was the commonly used material for the optoelectronic devices due to its high optical transparency and high electrical conductivity. However, several drawbacks in ITO including their vulnerability to cracking on flexible substrates, high temperature requirement during fabrication processes necessitated to find an alternative. Additionally, the use of ITO was expensive due to the rapid depletion of the elemental indium source.
In order to pursue in finding alternatives for ITOs, several attempts have been made utilizing new types of functional and Nano scale materials. These materials includes carbon nanotubes, graphene, conductive polymers and silver nanowires (AgNWs). Among these, silver nanowire is emerging as a promising candidate for the flexible electronics applications. It is mainly due to its intriguing electrical, optical and thermal properties. The electrical conductivity of silver nanowire is highest among all metals i.e. 6.3 × 107 S/m.
Silver nanowire transparent conductors have already demonstrated sheet resistance and optical transmittance comparable to ITO based transparent conductors. Some of the other critical characteristics such as mechanical adhesion, surface morphology, and flexibility are continuously explored before the implementation of silver nanowires in transparent conductors for optoelectronic devices.
The factors propelling the adoption of silver nanowires in transparent conductors, in place of the other traditional technologies, includes its ready availability unlike the other materials like ITO, minimal light interference, exceptional transmission capabilities and low haze. Additionally, the silver nanowires are extremely flexible, enabling their dispersion into inks for roll-to-roll coating in case of flexible substrates.
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Furthermore, high-quality silver nanowire transparent conductors are witnessing brisk adoption in organic solar cells and next-generation LEDs. This is mainly due to the properties of nanowire transparent conductors such as low shunt resistance and excellent flexibility. The process is simplified and cheap as compared to other processes involving use of ITO or graphene. Several studies suggested that the LEDs fabricated with silver nanowire transparent conductors have improved electrical and optical performance than the previous counterparts. Few of them include enhanced ohmic behavior under high bias voltages and better current spreading (due to a low shunt value).
However, the growing adoption of the silver nanowires in the transparent conductors is expected to be hampered by the pronounced effects of the fluctuations in current flow of the silver nanowires.
Leading market participants are making significant investments in research and development to offer innovative product leveraging the silver nanowire transparent conductor’s technology. Leading market participants are driving towards optimizing nanowires having lower sheet resistance and improved optical properties.
Global Silver Nanowire Transparent Conductors market is segmented by: fabrication techniques, and by region
Silver Nanowire Transparent Conductors by Fabrication Techniques
- Transfer printing onto poly substrates (generally Poly Ethylene Terephthalate (PET))
- Drop casting
- Air-spraying from nanowire suspension
- Vacuum filtration
Silver Nanowire Transparent Conductors by Region:
- Asia Pacific
- North America
- Latin America
- The Middle East & Africa
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Key players operating in this industry includes 3M Company, Armor Group, Inc., Atmel Corporation, CN Innovations Ltd., Cambrios Technologies Corporation, Carestream Advanced Materials, Inc., Heraeus Holding GmbH, Innova Dynamics, Inc. and Seashell Technology LLC.