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Metal nanofibers "nano-welded" using light for applications in electronics

Electrically conductive metal nanofibers networks belong to hot topics of many R&D workplaces. Researchers hope for an exceptional electrical conductivity and low cost. Nanofibrous metal meshes could find a massive application of the new generation of touch screens, light emitting diodes or thin-film solar cells. The problem is only one – in processing.

                                                                              Photo source: Stanford University

Team of engineers at Stanford University published new study in the prestigious journal Nature Materials. This study uses a new welding technique of metallic nanowires - plasmonics. Plasmonics is a new branch of photonics, which uses surface plasma polariton, which arise from the interaction of light with electrons that oscillate on a metal surface. Light flows through the metal surface in waves.


"At the intersections of metallic nanofibers, we know that we can create hotspot using plasmonics. Welding stops itself because it only works on contact, not after nanofibers fusion." says Mark Brongersma, professor of materials science engineering at Stanford University and renowned expert on plasmonics. This is the kind of fast, energy-efficient nano welding. This new technique could allow metal nanofibers to build on flexible or transparent plastics. The result can be extremely flexible, lightweight and durable materials that may find their applications e.g. as cheap as windows covering, which will be able to generate solar energy while reducing dazzling for people inside the room.


"This opens up interesting, simple and large systems for electronic equipment processing - especially solar, LED and touch screens," said Mark Brongersma.

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