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Silver and copper are the most widely used electrical conductors in modern electronics and solar cells. However, conventional methods of patterning these metals to make the desired pattern of conducting lines are based on selectively removing metal from a film by etching using harmful chemicals or printing from costly metal inks.
Scientists from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Warwick – are overcoming this – having developed a novel method of deposing patterned metal films that is likely to prove much more sustainable and cheaper for large scale production, because there is no metal waste or use of toxic chemicals, and the fabrication method is compatible with continuous roll-to-roll processing. Proof of concept devices with aperture sizes down to ~100 nm and aperture densities up to ~6 million per cm2 have been produced.