Technology Silver materials may unlock golden opportunities

Silver materials may unlock golden opportunities

A series of new silver materials that could help develop flexible touchscreens and new anti-bacterial agents have been discovered by researchers at Curtin University.

The materials also potentially open up new avenues in solid-state batteries.

Lead researcher said it was rare to find a new multifunctional material with such a diverse range of technical applications.

Lead researcher Dr Mark Paskevicius said the materials show promise for a new method of generating metallic nanowires.

“Silver nanowires have many applications, including as anti-bacterial agents in medical use or as part of conductive films that could be used in flexible touchscreens in smart phones,” says Dr Paskevicius.

He also said the materials showed promise in being used in next-generation silver-based, solid-state batteries.

“Silver is an expensive material, and is also quite heavy, but there are advantages to exploring batteries made from these new materials, noting their stability and ability to operate under high voltages,” Dr Paskevicius says.

“My future research in solid-state electrolytes for battery applications will focus on lighter and cheaper elements including lithium, sodium, magnesium and zinc.”

Dr Paskevicius explained that the use of the materials as photocatalysts – compounds to accelerate chemical reactions by light – could have potential applications in waste-water treatment or in catalytic hydrogen production from water with sunlight.

“The materials were shown to be stable in water, which could lead to new options for photocatalytic water splitting.”

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