New generation of transparent, flexible touch screens after electrode development

A breakthrough in electrode developments has added durability and flexibility to established transparent electrode technology and is tipped for use in car windscreen "heads-up displays" and information displays on eyeglasses and visors. Researchers at Purdue University in the USA say the transparent electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with graphene and could replace ITO used in touch-screen monitors, cell-phone displays and flat-screen televisions.

Alternatives to Indium tin oxide, or ITO, are in demand as the material is relatively expensive and degrades over time.

Suprem Das, a doctoral student at Purdue University, said: “If you try to bend ITO it cracks and then stops functioning properly.”

Findings show the new material has a low "sheet resistance," or the electrical resistance in very thin layers of material, which is measured in units called "squares." At 22 ohms per square, it is five times better than ITO, which has a sheet resistance of 100 ohms per square.

Moreover, the hybrid structure was found to have little resistance change when bent, whereas ITO shows dramatic increases in resistance when bent.

Research findings were detailed in a paper that appeared online in April in the journal Advanced Functional Materials. The paper is available online