A water-based silver nanowire ink for large-scale flexible transparent conductive films and touch screens†
Silver nanowire (AgNW) ink has a great influence on the performance of large-scale transparent conductive films (TCFs). However, most researchers didn’t know how to make their self-made AgNWs into qualified inks. For this reason, most TCFs prepared from the self-made AgNWs were only small-scale films and there was a lack of large-scale films. In this study, a systematic and effective development procedure starting from AgNWs to a qualified water-based AgNW ink is reported. Several new additives were exploited step by step to adjust the dynamic processes, which were crucial for the preparation of large-scale uniform films, including the stabilization and distribution of AgNWs, as well as the wetting, spreading, adjustment, and drying of the wet film. Then, an AgNW ink was obtained that showed stability comparable to commercial inks. After this, a large-scale flexible film (0.5 m × 10 m) was prepared using a roll-to-roll printing machine, and then a large-scale touch screen (32 inches) was realized. The performance of this film and that of the touch screen demonstrated that our ink was a qualified ink. The present study not only provides an effective procedure for researchers to make their self-made AgNWs into qualified inks in fundamental research, but also supplies a reference for engineers to develop commercial inks.