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New methods of arranging silver nanowires make them more durable, shows a study by KAUST. These nanowires form flexible, transparent conductive layers that can be used for improved solar cells, strain sensors and next-generation mobile phones.
Applying nanotechnology in electronic devices requires rigorous testing of individual tiny components to ensure they will stand up to use. Silver nanowires show great promise as connectors that could be arranged in flexible, near-transparent meshes for touchscreens or solar cells, but it is unclear how they will respond to prolonged stresses from bending and carrying current.
Bulk - Properties - Sample - Nanoparticles - Revelatory
Testing the bulk properties of a large sample of nanoparticles is easy, but not completely revelatory. However, adopting transmission electron microscopy (TEM) makes it possible to examine individual nanoparticles. Ph.D. student Nitin Batra and his supervisor Pedro Da Costa are at the forefront of developing new TEM techniques. This has allowed them to study single silver nanowires in detail (1).
"A major part of our work has been designing and fabricating sample platform prototypes (or chips) for TEM, which allow us to characterize and manipulate nanomaterials with an unsurpassed spatial resolution," says Batra.
Chips - Membrane - Nanoparticles - Batra - Da
To improve on expensive commercially available chips that contain a very fragile membrane to support nanoparticles, Batra and Da Costa, with help from Ahad Syed of the Nanofabrication Core Labat KAUST, have now...
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