Fabrication of a Completely Transparent and Highly Flexible ITO Nanoparticle Electrode at Room Temperature

We report the fabrication of a highly flexible indium tin oxide (ITO) electrode that is completely transparent to light in the visible spectrum. The electrode was fabricated via the formation of a novel ITO nanoarray structure, consisting of discrete globular ITO nanoparticles superimposed on an agglomerated ITO layer, on a heat-sensitive polymer substrate. The ITO nanoarray spontaneously assembled on the surface of the polymer substrate by a simple sputter coating at room temperature, without nanolithographic or solution-based assembly processes being required. The ITO nanoarray exhibited a resistivity of approximately 2.3 × 10–3 Ω cm and a specular transmission of about 99% at 550 nm, surpassing all previously reported values of these parameters in the case of transparent porous ITO electrodes synthesized via solution-based processes at elevated temperatures. This novel nanoarray structure and its fabrication methodology can be used for coating large-area transparent electrodes on heat-sensitive polymer substrates, a goal unrealizable through currently available solution-based fabrication methods.