Researchers at University of Illinois and Korea University Develop Bendable Solar Cell for Wearable Electronics

An ultra-thin film that is both transparent and highly conductive to electric current has been produced by a cheap and simple method devised by an international team of nanomaterials researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Korea University, according to a press release issued by the University of Illinois. The finding was reported in the June 13 issue of Advanced Materials.

“The film – actually a mat of tangled nanofiber, electroplated to form a ‘self-junctioned copper nano-chicken wire’ – is also bendable and stretchable, offering potential applications in roll-up touchscreen displays, wearable electronics, flexible solar cells and electronic skin,” said the release.

“It’s important, but difficult, to make materials that are both transparent and conductive,” said Alexander Yarin, UIC Distinguished Professor of Mechanical Engineering, one of two corresponding authors on the publication.

The new film establishes a “world-record combination of high transparency and low electrical resistance,” the latter at least 10-fold greater than the previous existing record, said Sam Yoon, who is also a corresponding author and a professor of mechanical engineering at Korea University.

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