Researchers make flexible, transparent e-paper from silicon

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( —In the growing area of flexible, transparent electronic devices, silicon has not played much of a role. Instead, materials such as indium tin oxide, carbon nanotubes, and others are often used to make bendable electronics.

The silicon nanowire paper was synthesized in a vertical high-frequency induction furnace. The direction of gas flow is marked by the yellow dashed lines. The red circles denote the locations where the silicon nanowires grow. (d) shows the synthesis of a SiNWsP@graphene electrode. Credit: Pang, et al. ©2013 American Chemical Society

Now in a new study, researchers have synthesized silicon nanowires and woven them into a paper that outperforms many other paper-like materials in terms of transparency and flexibility. Since today’s integrated circuit technology is designed for silicon (in bulk form), silicon nanowires would be much more compatible with these existing technologies than other materials, an advantage that could potentially rejuvenate research into silicon-based flexible electronics.
The researchers, Chunlei Pang, Hao Cui, Guowei Yang, and Chengxin Wang, at Sun Yat-sen (Zhongshan) University in Guangzhou, China, have published their study on the flexible, transparent, and self-standing silicon nanowires paper (FTS-SiNWsP) in a recent issue of Nano Letters.

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