Inkjet printing of flexible high-performance carbon nanotube transparent conductive films by “coffee ring effect”
Transparent and flexible conductors are a major component in many modern optoelectronic devices, such as touch screens for smart phones, displays, and solar cells. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) offer a good alternative to commonly used conductive materials, such as metal oxides (e.g. ITO) for flexible electronics. The production of transparent conductive patterns, and arrays composed of connected CNT “coffee rings” on a flexible substrate poly(ethylene terephthalate), has been reported. Direct patterning is achieved by inkjet printing of an aqueous dispersion of CNTs, which self-assemble at the rim of evaporating droplets. After post-printing treatment with hot nitric acid, the obtained TCFs are characterized by a sheet resistance of 156 Ω sq−1 and transparency of 81% (at 600 nm), which are the best reported values obtained by inkjet printing of conductive CNTs. This makes such films very promising as transparent conductors for various electronic devices, as demonstrated by using an electroluminescent device.