Silver nanowires are considered as the next generation transparent conductive electrodes

Silver nanowires are considered as the next generation transparent conductive electrodes

Robust solar demand spurs silver nanowires market

Currently valued at $320.55 million, silver nanowires market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4 per cent by 2025 and is expected to reach $425 million by 2025, says a report

November 2020

The global silver nanowires market has witnessed considerable traction over the years due to the demand for the product from various sectors including solar industry.

In the recent years noble metal nano materials especially silver nano materials are being used increasingly because of their diversified uses and conductive properties. Among these various nano structures silver nanowires have seen increased demand due to its high conductivity and optical transmittance. Silver being a noble metal, has all the characteristics that makes it one of the best ingredients for nano wires.

Silver nanowires have been considered as the next generation transparent conductive electrodes (TCEs) in semiconductor devices owing to their properties such as higher optical transmittance, reduced sheet resistance, flexibility and low processing cost.

This market’s total revenue was valued at $320.55 million projected to grow at a CAGR of 6.4 per cent during the forecast period 2020-2025 and is expected to reach $425 million by 2025, according to a report by Inforgrowth.

The adoption of sustainable sources of energy such as solar power has witnessed popularity over the years. China’s silver nanowires industry share from solar applications is anticipated to account for nearly 30 per cent of the global value. This is due to the high aspect ratio and conductive properties of the product that may be used in transparent and non-transparent applications including conductive inks, solar displays, and pastes. Increasing efforts undertaken by the authorities in China, such as the goal of reaching 1,300 GW of solar capacity, will favour the deployment of optical solar materials.


What are Silver Nanowires?

Nanowires are extremely small sized wires generally below 100 nm in diameter they can be several thousand nanometers long they are generally made from nano silver. Silver and gold are preferred as material for making nano wires since it is a noble metal and has low chances of surface defects and can offer workable conductivity but gold nanowires are expensive for large scale implications. The dimensional difference leads to the nanowires being categorised as one-dimensional materials. Nanowires generate quantum effects that are not present in normal wires which are made of bulk material. These wires are used in energy, electronics and environment sectors on a large scale.


Major applications

Nanowires are really extraordinary products which help in the operation of several other nanodevices. They are used in solar cells, displays and sensors for making connections which are electrically sensitive. Transparent conductive films and silver adhesives are also available for application in nano instruments.

Nanowires are used in nano-welding techniques for fixing connections in nanodevices. Transparent OLEDs and micro led displays use silver nanowires. Ag nanowires are applied in making printed electronic boards which are very small in size by using special processing techniques. Silver nanowires are being researched at fundamental as well as applied levels. Production technology is simple and also the electrical and optical properties of silver are excellent. AgNWs show great application potential in photoelectron, nanomicroelectronic device and composite functional material including TCFs and conductive silver adhesive.


Market Trends

For assembling metallic nanowires into large interconnected networks at nanowire junctions researchers have developed a light-induced self-limited plasmonic welding technology. An electrical grid composed of silver nanowires can be constructed using this tech. Plasmons are generated where two nanowires are cross-laying. At the place junction, light wave creates a hotspot. Finally, the hotspots disappear at the time the nanowires welded together. This technique is being developed keeping the transmission characteristics of the wire up to the mark.

Conductive adhesive is available in the market as an alternative for Pb-free leaded solder. The conductivity achieved is still low as compared with metal solder. Chen et al. has prepared silver conductive adhesive by adding silver nanomaterial wires. Studies have shown that silver nanoparticles with different morphologies improve the conductivity of conductive adhesive as conductive fillers. Using large-size silver powder as the main filling materials and adding a certain amount of silver nanowires improves the conductivity further. This innovative use of nanowires has put forward many new opportunities for their manufacturers.

A systematic and effective research procedure for silver nanowire ink has been developed recently. Researchers were almost immature in this field as there was not a clear research procedure i.e. sequence and number of tests etc. for the development of qualified inks. Silver nanowire (AgNW) ink has great influence on the performance of the resulting AgNW-based conductive film, especially for the large-scale roll-to-roll processed films.

A latest technique for printing flexible, stretchable circuits has been invented by the scientists from North Carolina State University that relies on silver nanowires to create the flexible substrates. Researchers have a belief that this new technology would allow integration of the material with a wide range of electronic devices. Traditionally, printed circuits can be made using silver nanoparticles but they’re not exactly flexible and often prove to be brittle and significantly less conductive than standard silver nanowires. Electrohydrodynamic printing uses electrostatic force for ejection of ink from the nozzle and draws it to the appropriate site on the substrate. This approach allows the use of a very wide nozzle which prevents clogging while retaining very fine printing resolution.

Silver nanowires are used in the new method for fabricating ultralight, conductive nano silver gels and aerogels monoliths with predictable densities. Silver nanowire building blocks can be prepared by polyol synthesis and purified by selective precipitation. Silver aerogels are then produced by freeze-casting nanowires in aqueous suspensions after which thermal sintering are done to weld the nanowire junctions. Electrical conductivity and young’s modulus of silver aerogels is acceptable for commercial uses.

Some of the major players in the sector include Johnson Mathey, RAS AG Material Technologies, Showa Denko KK, NanoTech Labs, Conductive Compounds, TPK, C3Nano, Nanopyxis, Hefei Vigon Material Technology.  

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