Structure-Property Relationships in Conductive Nanowire Networks

  • Catherine Ainsworth

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis studies networks of silver nanowires as a transparent conducting electrode material and presents an investigation into the relationship between electrical and optical properties in the networks. The work focusses on two main aspects: the production of networks via different deposition methods; and the development of a predictive model based on theory that relates the sheet resistance to the optical transmittance.The deposition methods of drop-casting, bar-coating and spray-coating are used to create networks and the randomness of these networks is compared using image analysis in ImageJ, a public domain image processing program, and Wolfram Mathematica, a computer algebra program. It is determined that spray-coating results in the most random networks, therefore all subsequent experiments are carried out using this as the deposition method. Annealing condition tests are carried out on the nanowire networks to determine the optimal annealing conditions required to burn off poly(vinyl pyrrolidone) (PVP) remaining from the nanowire synthesis process and sinter the nanowire junctions to improve network conductivity. The sheet resistances and optical transmittances of the networks are measured and compared to networks created by other research groups. It is found that the networks created in this study exhibited similar optical and electrical properties to those in the literature, obtaining Rs = 100 Ω/sq for T = 81%.The developed model is based on theory and relates the sheet resistance to the optical transmittance using only the length and width of the nanowires used in the network and the mean network coverage as variables. The model can be used to predict the properties of a network if these factors are known. The model is compared with experimental data both from this study and from the literature, along with simulated data from the literature that was obtained by Monte Carlo methods. It is shown that there is an excellent fit between the model and all data that it is compared with. It is demonstrated that < 1% of the network coverage is greater than 2 for typical nanowire networks, proving that the networks are two-dimensional and therefore do not require a bulk regime to describe the relationship, as has been suggested in prior work.
Date of Award1 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBrian Derby (Supervisor) & William Sampson (Supervisor)


  • Sheet Resistance
  • Optical Transmittance
  • Percolation
  • Silver Nanowires

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