Researchers at Purdue University suggest wrapping silver nanowires with an ultrathin layer of graphene can protect the structures from damage and could represent a key to realizing their commercial potential. Silver nanowires are known to hold promise for applications such as flexible displays and solar cells, but their susceptibility to damage from UV radiation and harsh environmental conditions has limited their commercialization.
The scientists state that Devices made from silver nanowires and graphene could find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics, future "optoelectronic" circuits and more, since that graphene "extracts and spreads" most of the thermal energy away from the nanowires. Raman spectroscopy was performed by the Purdue Department of Physics and Astronomy and findings showed the graphene sheathing protected the nanowires even while being subjected to 2.5 megawatts of energy intensity per square centimeter from a high-energy laser, which vaporizes the unwrapped wires. The unwrapped wires were damaged with an energy intensity as little as .8 megawatts per square centimeter. The graphene also helps to prevent moisture damage.