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Development of Transparent Conductive Films by the Sol-Gel-Method
NSIRC student in the lab with equipment - landscape header image

Development of Transparent Conductive Films by the Sol-Gel-Method

Mirjam Skof
Sheffield Hallam University
Research Title:
Development of Transparent Conductive Films by the Sol-Gel-Method

This PhD aims at developing a matrix for the production of novel inks for transparent conductive coatings, which are widely used in optoelectronic devices including displays and solar cells.


Currently indium tin oxide (ITO) is the most commonly used material for these applications, however indium is a scarce and expensive material. Additionally, conventional deposition techniques for transparent conductive films usually come with significant limitations in cost and efficiency. It is therefore highly desirable to replace them with a more cost-effective process, such as the sol-gel method. A major advantage of this method is the possibility of using printing techniques to write the required patterns, making complex photolithographic, etching and recycling processes unnecessary and at the same time enabling low-cost scale-up for continuous reel-to-reel manufacturing.


Thus, during the PhD project two main topics shall be investigated. One key aspect of the research is to find a substitute for ITO, two novel compositions of materials based on doped zinc oxide and doped titanium dioxide will be studied. The precursors will be analysed in terms of their reactivity and their ability to form a transparent coating on various substrates. As a second step, the development of the conductive coatings will be investigated. Nanoparticles will be introduced into the matrix and methods for curing and sintering the coatings will be developed. Further characterisations of the metal oxide films in terms of their stability, transparency and conductivity will be done.


This PhD is fully incorporated into the INFINITY project (“Indium-free transparent conductive oxides for glass and plastic substrates”). The INFINITY project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 641927.