Science

Gold and Silver Touch Screen

With a super fine network of gold and silver threads, Swiss researchers want to improve significantly the glass surfaces of mobile phones and other devices. The Nano threads made in 3D, should be more transparent and at the same time conductive than conventional materials and could help improve hence TV or solar cells.
Super fine network of gold and silver threads. Swiss researchers want to improve significantly the glass surfaces of mobile phones and other devices. The Nano threads made in 3D, should be more transparent and at the same time conductive than conventional materials and could help improve hence TV or solar cells.

Gold and Silver Touch Screen
Illustration: By using of electro-hydrodynamic ink jet printing, the Swiss scientists can print a grid made up of extremely fine gold walls. Photo: Ben Newton

For this, a special technique was necessary Poulikakos and his team had developed three years ago. “Nanodrip” call them the procedure, which is essentially based on the so-called electro-hydrodynamic inkjet printing.

Electric field draws ink droplets

That sounds complicated – and it also. But the gist is also for laypeople to understand. Ink out of metal nanoparticles in solvents; are necessary an electric field pulls the metal ink from a glass capillary smallest droplets. And these are about ten times smaller than the opening of the capillary.

This grid printed in gold has 300 nanometer-thin mesh walls. Photo: Advanced functional materials
This grid printed in gold has 300 nanometer-thin mesh walls. Photo: Advanced functional materials

Thus much smaller structures could be print, Poulikakos explains: “a drop of water imagine, below hanging on a closed faucet. “And imagine now, that below this drops even a tiny droplet hangs on. We print only this tiny droplets.”

Even cheaper than conventional technology

Even though gold and silver are used in the new procedure, it should be much cheaper than the previous technique. Why? Because in contrast to the indium tin oxide no clean room for the production is necessary. The Zurich researchers are now working to apply her method on an industrial scale.

According to their suitable development particularly for large surfaces and is therefore in the future also for curved TVs with OLED technology interesting or also for solar cells that can generate by nature the more power, the surfaces are based on transparent and conductive.