A Transparent, Smooth, Thermally Robust, Conductive Polyimide for Flexible Electronics

Joshua A. Spechler, Tae Wook Koh, Jake T. Herb, Barry P. Rand, Craig B. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


In this work, a thermally and mechanically robust, smooth transparent conductor composed of silver nanowires embedded in a colorless polyimide substrate is introduced. The polyimide is exceptionally chemically, mechanically, and thermally stable. While silver nanowire networks tend not to be thermally stable to high temperatures, the addition of a titania coating on the nanowires dramatically increases their thermal stability. This allows for the polyimide to be thermally imidized at 360 °C with the silver nanowires in place, creating a smooth (<1 nm root mean square roughness), conductive surface. These transparent conducting substrate-cum-electrodes exhibit a conductivity ratio figure of merit of 272, significantly outperforming commercially available indium-tin-oxide (ITO)-coated plastics. The conductive polymide is subjected to various mechanical tests and is used as a substrate for a thermally deposited, flexible, organic light-emitting diode, which shows improved device performance compared to a control device made on ITO coated glass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7428-7434
Number of pages7
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 22 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Materials Science
  • Electrochemistry
  • Biomaterials


  • colorless polyimides
  • flexible electronics
  • organic light-emitting diodes
  • silver nanowires
  • transparent conducting electrodes


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