Scientists have found a method to make a flexible and transparent conductor based on gold nanoparticles. This should eventually make it possible to make flexible electronics, for example for mobile phones.
The technique was developed by the University of Houston in collaboration with Harvard University. According to the scientists, they have succeeded in developing a material that can conduct electricity, is transparent and can also be bent. They want to be able to make flexible electronics with this in the long term. This material can then be used in products such as mobile phones or medical devices.
The material in question is made with gold particles that have been incorporated into a kind of mesh structure on a nano scale. A lithographic process called grain boundary was used for manufacture. It is the first time that a material has been developed that is transparent and bendable, while also conducting electricity, the scientists said.
Although the material should eventually make bendable electronics possible, the scientists state that there are still some problems. For example, the gold nanomaterial is not unbreakable and the resistance increases when it is bent. However, the material regains its original conductive properties when it returns to an unbent state.
The technology developed by American scientists could be used by smartphone manufacturers such as Samsung and LG, among others. They have already demonstrated their first bendable smartphones. These include a bendable screen, but the internal electronics are not yet flexible. By the way, bendable batteries are already being worked on.