Investigation of Ag-TiO2 Interfacial Reaction of Highly Stable Ag Nanowire Transparent Conductive Film with Conformal TiO2 Coating by Atomic Layer Deposition

The atomic layer deposition (ALD) technique is applied to coat Ag nanowires (NWs) with a highly uniform and conformal TiO2 layer to improve the stability and sustainability of Ag NW transparent conductive films (TCFs) at high temperatures. The TiO2 layer can be directly deposited on Ag NWs with a surface polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) coat that acts a bed for TiO2 seeding in the ALD process. The ALD TiO2 layer significantly enhances the thermal stability at least 100 fold when aged between 200–400 °C and also provides an extra function of violet-blue light filtration for Ag NW TCFs. Investigation into the interaction between TiO2 and Ag reveals that the conformal TiO2 shell could effectively prevent Ag from 1D-to-3D ripening. However, Ag could penetrate the conformal TiO2 shell and form nanocrystals on the TiO2 shell surface when it is aged at 400 °C. According to experimental data and thermodynamic evaluation, the Ag penetration leads to an interlayer composed of mixed Ag–Ag2O-amorphous carbon phases and TiO2–x at the Ag–TiO2 interface, which is thought to be caused by extremely high vapor pressure of Ag at the Ag–TiO2 interface at a higher temperature (e.g., 400 °C).