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Highly Conductive and Stretchable Silver Nanowire Conductors

F. Xu and Y. Zhu*, Advanced Materials, in press

This paper reports a highly conductive and stretchable conductor with silver nanowires (AgNWs) embedded just below the surface of poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). Stable conductivity of 5,285 S cm-1 is achieved in a large range of tensile strain (0-50%) after a few cycles of stretching/releasing of the substrate. This stable electric response is due to buckling of the AgNW/PDMS thin layer, which is attributed to irreversible sliding of the AgNWs in the PDMS matrix. AgNWs can be printed to fabricate patterned stretchable conductors with feature size as small as 50 μm. With their superior conductivity, stretchability and compatibility with existing fabrication/patterning technology, the reported AgNW/PDMS elastic conductors may find broad applications in stretchable electronics, skin sensors, wearable communication devices, photovoltaics and energy storage.

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