American Chemical Society
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Capillary-Force-Induced Cold Welding in Silver-Nanowire-Based Flexible Transparent Electrodes

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journal contribution
posted on 2017-01-17, 00:00 authored by Yuan Liu, Jianming Zhang, Heng Gao, Yan Wang, Qingxian Liu, Siya Huang, Chuan Fei Guo, Zhifeng Ren
Silver nanowire (AgNW) films have been studied as the most promising flexible transparent electrodes for flexible photoelectronics. The wire–wire junction resistance in the AgNW film is a critical parameter to the electrical performance, and several techniques of nanowelding or soldering have been reported to reduce the wire–wire junction resistance. However, these methods require either specific facilities, or additional materials as the “solder”, and often have adverse effects to the AgNW film or substrate. In this study, we show that at the nanoscale, capillary force is a powerful driving force that can effectively cause self-limited cold welding of the wire–wire junction for AgNWs. The capillary-force-induced welding can be simply achieved by applying moisture on the AgNW film, without any technical support like the addition of materials or the use of specific facilities. The moisture-treated AgNW films exhibit a significant decrease in sheet resistance, but negligible changes in transparency. We have also demonstrated that this method is effective to heal damaged AgNW films of wearable electronics and can be conveniently performed not only indoors but also outdoors where technical support is often unavailable. The capillary-force-based method may also be useful in the welding of other metal NWs, the fabrication of nanostructures, and smart assemblies for versatile flexible optoelectronic applications.