Transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) inks combine high transparency in the visible and high electrical conductivity with the benefits of solution processing for printable electronics. The most promising TCO, Sn:In2O3 (ITO), is currently being replaced on the transparent conductive inks market due to supply risk of ITO. Alternatives range from silver flakes, to copper pastes, or graphene and other carbon based materials. However, the remarkable environmental stability, chemical tunability, and optoelectronic properties of TCOs remain unbeaten. Hence, it is time to invest into good alternative TCO inks from non-critical raw materials. In CONDINKS, we have identified some of the major issue, limiting the performance of TCO nanocrystals in conductive inks related to 1) their electronic structure and depletion layer formation and (2) dopant segregation. Segregated on the surface, dopants might remain inactive and, hence, do not contribute to the conductivity. Segregated in the core might result into large depletion layers. Both effects significantly influence thin film conductivity in particular on the nanoscale. The solution offered by CONDINKS is based on two objectives: 1. Making conductive inks from non-critical raw materials with properties competing with benchmark systems through nanoscale dopant engineering; 2. Upscaling of the produced materials, with first attempts towards reactors in aqueous-based flow synthesis processes. The breakthrough innovation of our product is immediately obvious: similar (or superior) properties to commercially available materials with lower cost and lower supply risk. CONDINKS has put together a team of researchers with industrial support to tackle the high-reaching goal to develop conductive inks based on non-critical raw materials with enhanced performance due to dopant engineering.
IIT Projects Search
Conductive oxide-based dispersions from non-critical raw materials for functional nanoinks