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A team of researchers demonstrate plastics and graphene can work together to make touch screen device a reality

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Graphene’s outstanding electrical, chemical, and mechanical properties are known for applications in flexible electronics.  The problem however, has been to attain the quality required to produce touch screen device at a scale so that it could challenge indium tin oxides (ITO) based transparent electrodes.

Now, a team of researchers led by J-H. Ahn and B. H. Hong of Sungkyunkwan University, Korea, made a rectangular graphene film measuring 30 inches (76 cm) in the diagonal and reported in the Nature Nanotechnology Journal.  After the graphene was doped by nitric acid treatment, graphene sheet behaved as a large and transparent electrode.  Also, by using layer-by-layer stacking they developed a doped four-layer film and studied its sheet resistance at values as low as ~30 ? ??1 at ~90% transparency.  In fact, this result is superior to commercial indium tin oxides transparent electrodes. The researchers further showed that the graphene film could work in a touch screen device.

How plastics played a role in all these?

Initially, polymer adhesive acted as a support by etching the copper away.  Then PET film substrate assisted in roll to roll production of 30 inch grapheme film for transparent electrodes.  The advantages of graphene over ITO are numerous.  ITO is fragile and thus touch screen based on ITO has a finite lifetime.  On the other hand, the graphene production is very environmentally friendly than ITO production.

[Ref: S. Bae, H. Kim, Y. Lee, X. Xu, J-S. Park, Y. Zheng, J. Balakrishnan, T. Lei, H. Ri Kim, Y. Il Song, Y.-J Kim, K. S. Kim, B. Özyilmaz, J-H. Ahn, B. H. Hong and S. Iijima, Nature Nanotechnology, doi:10.1038/nnano.2010.132 Published online: 20 June 2010 ]