Flexible Transparent Conducting Electrodes Fabricated from Silver Nanowire-Nafion Composite Membranes
ABSTRACT: Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is an inflexible and expensive, yet electrically efficient material used in photovoltaic devices. Herein, we report on our group’s attempt to replace ITO by fabricating a Nafion membrane embedded with silver nanowires (AgNWs). The optical transparency was determined by UV-visible light spectroscopy, while the electrical properties were determined by resistance measurements. Several casting methods were utilized - including blade casting, drop casting, and spin coating - with the latter displaying the greatest transmittance. The optimal concentration that yields the highest electrical conductance and optical transparency was found to be within the range of 5-10%, while higher concentrations lead to a decrease in the transmittance, evident by the segregation of the AgNWs. Additionally, we impregnated the membrane with a zinc nitrate solution. Owing to Nafion’s ion exchange capacities, zinc oxide nanoparticles were formed in situ by the ensuing reduction of zinc ions and their presence was verified by x-ray diffraction. Finally, we employed a multitude of post-processing methods, such as thermal annealing, mechanical pressing, and reduction under heated HCl gas at increased temperatures with the intention of further decreasing the resistance.
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