One of the most exciting upcoming technologies in the field of electronics is transparent, flexible, conductive inks and coatings. When you consider the vast and varied range of potential uses it is easy to see why. Transparent conductive ink allows innovations such as resilient folding phones, solar windows, more efficient solar panels, next to invisible RFID tags, and comfortable, flexible biosensors.  

Currently, the creation of these transparent coatings typically falls into one of 3 categories. The first is carbon-based (carbon nanotubes and graphene); the second is ceramic (Indium tin Oxide); the third is metallic nanoparticles. 

The materials in each of these categories have had major issues in facilitating usable products. Graphene is extremely conductive, but due to its lack of free electrons, it is extremely difficult to pass current from one graphene sheet to another, meaning that the resistance is far too high.  ITO is brittle, requires a high degree of vacuum to coat, and is challenging to add to surfaces. Metallic Nanoparticles have a chance of oxidizing, degrading, and lost conductivity, both over time as well as when current or heat is added. At least that has been the problem, until now. 

At NanoCnet, we solved the durability issues with metallic nanoparticles by taking silver and rearranging the atoms to create belt-shaped particles we call Nano Silver Strands. This was a major step forward because the conductive one-dimensional nanoparticles that came before ours had their atoms in a high energy fashion, making them unstable while their synthesis would require a huge amount of energy in most of the cases. This flaw resulted in nanoparticles that degraded or oxidized easily and, if energy was added to them ensured they would coalesce together, out of the material’s preferred one-dimensional shape. Our Nano Silver Strands are created with minimum energy consumption and are arranged into a far more stable configuration. This meant that not only do they not degrade, but they are also able to keep their one-dimensional shape when energy is added to them without any protective coatings. This shape also meant that they are nearly invisible when added to glass or other transparent material due to the amount of light that can pass between the network of particles. 

We at NanoCnet managed to discover and create these Nano Silver Strands.  We now add these particles to several different inks for different purposes. Our Conductive Transparent Ink is one of these, and you can see what the ink looks like and how it works in this

 

The box you see in the video was made as a quick demo to allow our team to show off the material’s ability to conduct electricity at a conference.  Because of this, the coating on the box is not nearly as transparent as possible. This box demo also doesn’t show off the incredible flexibility that our material has.  However, we are almost done a transparent touch panel that will give a bit of a better idea of what these great little strands can do. We will be sure to post another video as soon as we back up and running after the Pandemic passes. 

Another thing we are excited to show you is a similar product made of a slightly different formulation of our strands, which are our transparent flexible heater. With similar optical properties to the electrode, the big difference is that this coating, instead of just conducting electricity, creates heat in an extremely thin layer while remaining transparent and flexible.

For more information on our products, please visit our website or send us an email. 

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