Stretchable, Transparent Electrodes as Wearable Heaters Using Nanotrough Networks of Metallic Glasses with Superior Mechanical Properties and Thermal Stability.

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Nano letters, ISSN: 1530-6992, Vol: 16, Issue: 1, Page: 471-8

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An, Byeong Wan; Gwak, Eun-Ji; Kim, Kukjoo; Kim, Young-Cheon; Jang, Jiuk; Kim, Ju-Young; Park, Jang-Ung
American Chemical Society (ACS); AMER CHEMICAL SOC
Chemical Engineering; Chemistry; Materials Science; Physics and Astronomy; Engineering; Metallic glasses; transparent electrodes; stretchable electronics; stretchable heaters; wearable electronics
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Mechanical robustness, electrical and chemical reliabilities of devices against large deformations such as bending and stretching have become the key metrics for rapidly emerging wearable electronics. Metallic glasses (MGs) have high elastic limit, electrical conductivity, and corrosion resistance, which can be promising for applications in wearable electronics. However, their applications in wearable electronics or transparent electrodes have not been extensively explored so far. Here, we demonstrate stretchable and transparent electrodes using CuZr MGs in the form of nanotrough networks. MG nanotroughs are prepared by electrospinning and cosputtering process, and they can be transferred to various desired substrates, including stretchable elastomeric substrates. The resulting MG nanotrough network is first utilized as a stretchable transparent electrode, presenting outstanding optoelectronic (sheet resistance of 3.8 Ω/sq at transmittance of 90%) and mechanical robustness (resistance change less than 30% up to a tensile strain of 70%) as well as excellent chemical stability against hot and humid environments (negligible degradation in performance for 240 h in 85% relative humidity and 85 °C). A stretchable and transparent heater based on the MG nanotrough network is also demonstrated with a wide operating temperature range (up to 180 °C) and excellent stretchability (up to 70% in the strain). The excellent mechanical robustness of these stretchable transparent electrode and heater is ascribed to the structural configuration (i.e., a nanotrough network) and inherent high elastic limit of MGs, as supported by experimental results and numerical analysis. We demonstrate their real-time operations on human skin as a wearable, transparent thermotherapy patch controlled wirelessly using a smartphone as well as a transparent defroster for an automobile side-view mirror, suggesting a promising strategy toward next-generation wearable electronics or automobile applications.