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Materials – Clear advantages

New transparent conductor made from more earth-abundant elements promises lower cost solar cells and displays.

January 5, 2016 – Touchscreens, smart phones, liquid crystal displays and solar panels of tomorrow could be more efficient because of a new material profiled in a paper published in Scientific Reports. Researchers at the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory have demonstrated a transparent conducting oxide thin film that relies on fundamentally different physics than existing transparent conducting oxides. “The charge carriers in our material are highly mobile and can move very fast under electric fields, allowing logic devices to switch rapidly such as for the on/off operation in transistors,” said UT’s Ramki Kalyanaraman, who led the team. “This property also allows them to carry electrical current efficiently.” Researchers noted that their approach isn’t based on indium, a precious metal, yet is already competitive with the state of the art. The paper is available at