An agar sandwich method for patterning transparent conducting oxides
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Transparent electrodes are frequently used to drive opto-electronic devices, and the patterning of these electrodes is essential. The present work demonstrates a facile means of removing transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) from a glass substrate in selected areas. When agarose gel (agar), a material typically used in desserts, is sandwiched between two TCO-coated glass substrates and connected to a dry cell, the TCO is removed from the glass at the agar stamping area within 2 min. This method allows etching of TCOs using acid-free, inexpensive, and readily available starting materials. Analyses by optical microscopy, transmission spectroscopy, electrical resistance measurements, X-ray diffraction, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy demonstrate that this etching occurs as a result of reduction of the TCO in conjunction with the electrolysis of water at the interface between the TCO and agar surfaces. Using this technique, high-throughput patterning of TCOs with an edge resolution of several micrometres was achieved. Furthermore, the shape of the agar template can be readily changed simply by cutting the agar using scissors. Therefore, this method provides a useful means for both researchers and students to easily fabricate patterned substrates for use in electronics and related technologies.
This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grants-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B) (Grant Numbers 26790015 and 17K14082). The author acknowledges Dr. Dote of Hiroshima University for help with XPS measurements and is grateful to Ms. Isagai of the Foundation for Promotion of Material Science and Technology of Japan for conducting XRD measurements. The author is also grateful to Ms. Tanaka of the Hiroshima City Industrial Promotion Centre for the stylus-type roughness instrument. The author also wishes to acknowledge Mr. Nawachi and Mr. Ito of the Hiroshima Prefectural Technology Research Institute for the sheet resistance metre. Transmission spectra and FE-SEM images were measured using shared equipment in the Cryogenics and Instrumental Analysis Division of N-BARD, Hiroshima University.
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