A novel nanomaterial is to be used in future times in the making of various flexible and wearable e-devices. Researchers make a transparent, highly conductive, ultrathin film from a electroplated polymer that paves way for better bendable, wearable electronic devices.
A very thin film that is see-through as well as a good conductor of electricity has been made from dirtcheap materials. The method used to make it was also very simple. A team of researchers used nanomaterials to make this thin veil of sorts.
The experts hailed from the the USA and Korea. The device is actually a network of nanofibers that have been electroplated. The net effect is a chickenwire of sorts that is made of copper.
It is flexible and can also stretch upto its elastic limit. This e-device has applications in roll-up touchscreen displays, wearables, solar cells that can be molded onto surfaces and what is known as electronic skin.
The finding was published in a journal. It is vital milestone in the annals of science. Making a veil that is transparent as well as conductive is not an easy task.
There is not only a high degree of see-through effect in the thin film but very low resistance to electricity as well. In fact, this resistance is ten times less than the usual levels which are found in similar materials.
Furthermore, this thin sheet remains intact despite extreme stretching and bending. This is important for touchscreens and wearable devices. The making of this e-device begins with spinning out a nanofiber mat of polyacrylonitrile (PAN).
These nanofibers are a hundred times as slender as the width of a human hair. The fibers extend like a noodle going around a fork countless number of times.
These fibers land on a mesh which contains millions of similar fibers. The nanofibers form spiral cones and fractal loops in space. Furthermore, the loops have even more loops and so on and so forth. This results in the nanofibers being extra thin.
The PAN nanofibers are electroplated with copper, silver, nickel and gold. This ensures that they conduct electricity in a jiffy. The electroplating and electrospinning take place in a matter of a few seconds.
These nanofiber-based surfaces can then be cast over anything from skin to leaves to glass. They even has applications in future cryogenics and cooling processes such as those which take place in a refrigerator. At least 92% of the material is hardly visible since it consists of holes.
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The findings of this study published today in that journal Advanced Materials.