Silver nanowires offer a way to solve two problems facing those making light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
LEDs tend to be made from inorganic materials. Those based on organic materials are thinner, lighter weight, cheaper to make and more easily spread over large, flexible surfaces. But the white light that they produce is not the same at all angles, and current organic LEDs are hampered by stiff electrodes. These are not compatible with flexible manufacturing and are made of indium tin oxide, an increasingly scarce material.
Whitney Gaynor, then at Stanford University in California, and her colleagues made alternative electrodes using silver nanowires encased in transparent plastic. These produce stable white light at all angles and are better suited to manufacturing the LEDs on flexible, plastic surfaces.
Adv. Mater. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/adma.201300923 (2013)