Open Access Nano Express

Flexible, transparent electrodes using carbon nanotubes

Núria Ferrer-Anglada1*, Jordi Pérez-Puigdemont12, Jordi Figueras1, Muhammad Zahir Iqbal13 and Siegmar Roth24

Author Affiliations

1 Applied Physics Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Campus Nord B4, J Girona 1-3, Barcelona, Catalonia, 08034, Spain

2 Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, Heisenbergtrasse 1, Stuttgart, 70569, Germany

3 Department of Physics and Graphene Research Institute, Sejong University, Seoul, 143-747, South Korea

4 School of Electrical Engineering, WCU Flexible Nanosystems, Korea University, Seoul, 136-713, South Korea

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:571  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-571

Published: 17 October 2012


We prepare thin single-walled carbon nanotube networks on a transparent and flexible substrate with different densities, using a very simple spray method. We measure the electric impedance at different frequencies Z(f) in the frequency range of 40 Hz to 20 GHz using two different methods: a two-probe method in the range up to 110 MHz and a coaxial (Corbino) method in the range of 10 MHz to 20 GHz. We measure the optical absorption and electrical conductivity in order to optimize the conditions for obtaining optimum performance films with both high electrical conductivity and transparency. We observe a square resistance of 1 to 8.5 kΩ for samples showing 65% to 85% optical transmittance, respectively. For some applications, we need flexibility and not transparency: for this purpose, we deposit a thick film of single-walled carbon nanotubes on a flexible silicone substrate by spray method from an aqueous suspension of carbon nanotubes in a surfactant (sodium dodecyl sulphate), thereby obtaining a flexible conducting electrode showing an electrical resistance as low as 200 Ω/sq. When stretching up to 10% and 20%, the electrical resistance increases slightly, recovering the initial value for small elongations up to 10%. We analyze the stretched and unstretched samples by Raman spectroscopy and observe that the breathing mode on the Raman spectra is highly sensitive to stretching. The high-energy Raman modes do not change, which indicates that no defects are introduced when stretching. Using this method, flexible conducting films that may be transparent are obtained just by employing a very simple spray method and can be deposited on any type or shape of surface.

Flexible, Transparent electrodes; Transparent conducting thin films; Flexible conducting films; Raman; Electrical impedance