Silver nanowires heal themselves

Silver coinNanotechnology is one of the great hopes of the electronics industry as Intel’s Moore’s Law reaches its inevitable end.
And one of the elements of this future are silver nanowires – regarded by some as a viable alternative for indium tin oxide.
The problem with indium tin oxide is that while it is one of the most used materials for plasma displays, touchscreens and flexible electronics, it is pricey.
So called silver nanowires, which can be one dimensionally embedded in flexible polymers is considered to be one of the answers because it’s transparent and conductive.
Scientists at Northwestern University in the USA said there’s been the lack of a real understanding of its mechanical properties.
But the scientists believe they now understand the behaviour of silver nanowire in electronics better.
A factor called cyclic loading can make conductive films fail but the research team believes that some of the material’s problems self heal, meaning that the wires can stand strong loads for long periods of time.
Essentially, the scientists have come up with a new method that allows them to understand when the materials are flexed millions of times.