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Highly Stretchable and Mechanically Stable Transparent Electrode Based on Composite of Silver Nanowires and Polyurethane–Urea

Kim, Dong-Hwan, Yu, Ki-Cheol, Kim, Youngmin, Kim, Jong-Woong
ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 2015 v.7 no.28 pp. 15214-15222
actuators, adhesion, deformation, electrodes, electronic equipment, indium tin oxide, light, nanowires, polymers, silver
Transparent electrodes based on conventional indium–tin oxide (ITO) can hardly meet the requirements of future generations of stretchable electronic devices, including artificial skins, stretchable displays, sensors, and actuators, because they cannot retain high conductivity under substantial stretching and bending deformation. Here we suggest a new approach for fabricating highly stretchable and transparent electrodes with good stability in environments where they would be stretched repeatedly. We designed polyurethane–urea (PUU), a urethane-based polymer, to enhance the adhesion between Ag nanowires (AgNWs) and poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). The adhesion could be further improved when irradiated by intense pulsed light (IPL). After delicate optimization of the layered AgNW/PUU/PDMS structure, we fabricated a stretchable transparent electrode that could withstand 100 cycles of 50% stretching–releasing, with exceptionally high stability and reversibility. This newly developed electrode is therefore expected to be directly applicable to a wide range of high-performance, low-cost, stretchable electronic devices.