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Development of mechanical nanowire transfer technology for wafer areas and flexible electronics applications

Nanowire, a typical nano-material, is an extremely thin wire with a diameter of around 1 nanometer. Nanowire production technology is considered to be one of the 10 new technologies that will change the world. However, conventional methods for producing nanowire electronics have problems with property homogeneity, resulting in property variations even when produced using the same method. The present study was conducted to fabricate flexible electronics using nanowire in a uniform and reliable manner.

Development of a new nano-transfer technology

Nanowire is believed to be suitable for small, flexible electronics essential in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution due to its small, lightweight structure and excellent physical and chemical properties. The research team of Dr. Min-Ho Seo and Prof. Jun-Bo Yoon developed a new nano-transfer technology to resolve the non-homogeneity issue of conventional methods, where chemically synthesized nanowires are mixed with a solution and randomly sprayed on a flexible substrate. This new technology makes use of differences in mechanical adhesion, has low material dependence, and is based on standard physical vapor deposition. Remarkably, the team was able to fabricate metal oxides crystallized with various metallic nanowires such as gold, platinum, and copper, fully aligned on a flexible substrate.

The promising future value of nanoelectronic technology

Nano-transfer technology refers to a technology used to transfer nanowires from a certain surface or substrate to another surface. The technology can be used to produce nanowires on a firm but physically and chemically stabilized substrate (mold) and then transfer them to a flexible substrate using chemical adhesion. Previous methods were only able to produce certain nanowire materials whose adhesion can be chemically controlled. In contrast, the technology developed in the present study not only produces nanowires based on standard physical vapor deposition but also uses mechanical adhesion, which has low material dependence, enabling the fabrication of nanowires on a flexible substrate using a wide range of materials. This technology offers a reliable platform for producing nanowires on a flexible substrate with a variety of materials. It is very valuable because it will facilitate the stable development of high-performance flexible electronics that are becoming essential to industries.
The present study demonstrated that nanowires can be produced from various materials on a flexible substrate. It presents evidence that it is possible to achieve stable devices that can be applied to flexible heater and gas sensor devices and used in real-life situations. The research team plans to use the technology to develop displays, sensors, and other electronics that play a key part in everyday life. The present study was funded by the Mid-career Researcher Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea, and the Open Innovation Program of the National NanoFab Center.

Dr. Min-Ho Seo, Prof. Jun-Bo Yoon
2018 KI Annual Report

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