South Korean engineers say that they had developed a new transparent electrode that could reduce the production costs of display screens used in computers and mobile phones.
The new technology is expected to cut production costs by 50 per cent, and has the potential to greatly expand the use of displays and touch screen panels because it can be bent, the team led by Lee Geon-woong at the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute (KERI) said.
The scientist at the state-run laboratory said the new electrodes are created by using a so-called one-component solution that combines such materials such as carbon nanotubes, binders, stabilization compounds and chemicals that help spread the thickness of the film evenly.
He said the liquid one-component solution effectively allows manufacturers to move away from the conventional indium tin oxide (ITO) method that requires high pressure and heat to create transparent electrodes.
"Because of the heat and pressure, ITO screens are more expensive and cannot be bent," the KERI researcher said. He added that in addition to reduced production cost, the new method greatly cuts back on manufacturing processes.
"The liquid can be applied by a roll-to-roll process, in the form of paste and by means of patterning," the expert said.
He claimed that once the technology becomes commercially viable, it can replace the ITO manufacturing process altogether and revolutionize designs for touch screens, flexible displays, solar cells, and various sensor devices.
Lee said patents for the new transparent electrode manufacturing process have been sought in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Transparent electrodes are one of the top priority technologies that Seoul wants to lead the world in in coming years.
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