Flexible Electronics With Recyclable Materials

Researchers have demonstrated the strong potential for recyclable, flexible electronics to be used in creating cheaper solar cells, touchscreens, wearable ‘e-skins’, and next-generation responsive windows.

These materials, made using a simple, cost-effective fabrication process, could replace traditional transparent conductive oxides such as indium tin oxide (ITO), which is a necessary component of almost all thin-film solar cells, laptop screens, and smartphone displays, but which is steadily rising in price due to its scarcity and is inherently limited by its brittle nature.

In addition to cheaper, high-efficiency photovoltaic solar cells, computer displays, and smartphone touch screens, household energy bills could be slashed in the long-term, with the flexible electronics potentially able to be used in manufacturing smart windows, which can electrically shift color and become opaque or transparent. This work will inspire the design of transparent conductive films with novel functions such as flexibility and recyclability, providing an excellent platform for next-generation eco-friendly optoelectronics.

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