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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2018 Jun 6;10(22):19208-19217. doi: 10.1021/acsami.8b03079. Epub 2018 May 25.

Stability Enhancement of Silver Nanowire Networks with Conformal ZnO Coatings Deposited by Atmospheric Pressure Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition.

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Univ. Grenoble Alpes , CNRS, Grenoble INP, LMGP , 38000 Grenoble , France.
Department of Physics , University of Peshawar , 25120 Peshawar , Pakistan.
Univ. Grenoble Alpes , CEA, LITEN, INES , F-73375 , Le Bourget-du-Lac , France.
Département de Physique, CESAM/Q-MAT, SPIN , Université de Liège , B-4000 Liège , Belgium.


Silver nanowire (AgNW) networks offer excellent electrical and optical properties and have emerged as one of the most attractive alternatives to transparent conductive oxides to be used in flexible optoelectronic applications. However, AgNW networks still suffer from chemical, thermal, and electrical instabilities, which in some cases can hinder their efficient integration as transparent electrodes in devices such as solar cells, transparent heaters, touch screens, and organic light emitting diodes. We have used atmospheric pressure spatial atomic layer deposition (AP-SALD) to fabricate hybrid transparent electrode materials in which the AgNW network is protected by a conformal thin layer of zinc oxide. The choice of AP-SALD allows us to maintain the low-cost and scalable processing of AgNW-based transparent electrodes. The effects of the ZnO coating thickness on the physical properties of AgNW networks are presented. The composite electrodes show a drastic enhancement of both thermal and electrical stabilities. We found that bare AgNWs were stable only up to 300 °C when subjected to thermal ramps, whereas the ZnO coating improved the stability up to 500 °C. Similarly, ZnO-coated AgNWs exhibited an increase of 100% in electrical stability with respect to bare networks, withstanding up to 18 V. A simple physical model shows that the origin of the stability improvement is the result of hindered silver atomic diffusion thanks to the presence of the thin oxide layer and the quality of the interfaces of hybrid electrodes. The effects of ZnO coating on both the network adhesion and optical transparency are also discussed. Finally, we show that the AP-SALD ZnO-coated AgNW networks can be effectively used as very stable transparent heaters.


AP-SALD; ZnO; conformal coating; failure; metallic nanowire; spatial atomic layer deposition; stability; transparent electrode


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