Oct. 10th, 2019
Ignacio Herráez, Techno-Commercial Engineer. firstname.lastname@example.org
Silver nanowires create transparent conductive coatings or patterns that can be applied to just about any insulating surface, from glass to plastic to paper. How are these insulating materials transformed? Through the creation of a random network of invisible, highly conductive wires that cover just a tiny fraction of the total surface. Inks can be tailored to specific substrates and printing techniques, and the conductivity can be controlled by simply adjusting the amount of silver nanowires deposited.
And silver nanowires can be coated using a readily available, relatively inexpensive methods to create conductive films with high flexibility. Transparent or invisible conductive films have a wide variety of applications in printed electronics as well as other areas, and represent an area with tremendous potential for growth. Applications include lighting, sensors, smart packaging, photovoltaics, touchscreens, flexible touchscreens, electromagnetic shielding, conductive polymers and resins, Joule heating, and antistatic coatings among others.
So what exactly are silver nanowires? These conductive nanoparticles are composed of pentagonal metallic crystals with diameters of tens of nanometers—a human hair is a whopping 2,500 times thicker—and lengths of tens of microns.
To give some perspective of the scale of these incredible nanomaterials, a single teaspoon of silver nanowires suspended in water contains 0.2 grams of silver, but this silver is in the form of over a trillion nanowires. Laid end-to-end, the nanowires held in this single teaspoon are long enough to circle the earth one and a half times. This helps illustrate how silver nanowires can form transparent conductive networks on surfaces with extremely low silver usage.
NANOGAP has developed and implemented an innovative, patented approach to manufacturing silver nanowires. At the core of the technology is our unique sub-nanometer metal molecules, comprised of just a few atoms, which catalyze nanowire growth preferentially on one axis of the silver crystal.