“Bottom-up” transparent electrodes Academic Article uri icon


  • Transparent electrodes (TEs) have attracted significant scientific, technological, and commercial interest in recent years due to the broad and growing use of such devices in electro-optics, consumer products (touch-screens for example), solar cells, and others. Currently, almost all commercial TEs are fabricated through “top-down” approaches (primarily lithography-based techniques), with indium tin oxide (ITO) as the most common material employed. Several problems are encountered, however, in this field, including the cost and complexity of TE production using top-down technologies, the limited structural flexibility, high-cost of indium, and brittle nature and low transparency in the far-IR spectral region of ITO. Alternative routes based upon bottom-up processes, have recently emerged as viable alternatives for production of TEs. Bottom up technologies are based upon self-assembly of building blocks - atoms, molecules, or nanoparticles – generating thin patterned films that exhibit both electrical conductivity and optical transparency. In this Feature Article we discuss the recent progress in this active and exciting field, including bottom-up TE systems produced from carbon materials (carbon nanotubes, graphene, graphene-oxide), silver, gold, and other metals. The current hurdles encountered for broader use of bottom-up strategies along with their significant potential are analyzed.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016