Highly stretchable polymer-dispersed liquid crystal-based smart windows with transparent and stretchable hybrid electrodes
We report on highly stretchable polymer dispersed liquid crystal (PDLC)-based smart windows using Ag nanowires (NWs) and conductive PEDOT:PSS hybrid electrodes. By bar coating a Ag NW and PEDOT:PSS mixed ink on a transparent and stretchable polyurethane (PU) substrate, we fabricated highly transparent and stretchable hybrid electrodes with a sheet resistance of 40 ohm per square, an optical transmittance of 82%, and a stretchability of 30% to replace conventional brittle ITO electrode. Bending and stretching tests demonstrated that the mechanical properties of the Ag NW and PEDOT:PSS hybrid electrode were better than those of the ITO/PU sample. The Ag NW/PEDOT:PSS hybrid film was employed as a transparent and stretchable electrode (TSE) in PDLC-based stretchable smart windows, an application that is impossible for brittle ITO-based smart windows. The stretchable PDLC-based smart windows exhibited an on-state transmittance of 56% at an applied voltage of 80 V and an off-state transmittance of 2% at 0 voltage. Unlike an ITO-based PDLC smart window, which is easily broken by stretching, the Ag NW/PEDOT:PSS hybrid electrode-based PDLC smart window was stretched up to 30%. Successful operation of the stretchable PDLC-based smart window indicates that Ag NW/PEDOT:PSS hybrid films are promising TSEs for cost-effective, large area, and stretchable smart windows.