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Metal-based Transparent Electrode

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Project Overview

Transparent electrode refers to the electrode with high transmittance and low resistivity simultaneously, which, as an essential component in modern electronics, is widely used in the fields of optoelectronic displays, solar cells and so on. The current global market size has reached more than 3 billion US dollars, with the dominant product being the expensive ITO film. 

The metal-based transparent electrode in this project, developed by a Michigan team, has the advantages of superb transmittance (> 95%), low square resistance (<10ohm/sq) and low haze (<0.1%), suitable for large-scale flexible production using a roll-to-roll process. The product, with superior performance and lower cost, can be used to replace ITO in displays, touch screens, solar cells, electrochromic glass and etc., even in flexible wearable electronics. This technology, benefiting from its easy manufacture and compatibility with existing equipment, demonstrates cost advantages in large-scale production when compared with other emerging transparent electrode technologies. A startup company, Zenith Nano, was formed in 2019 to commercialize the technology. Its current valuation is around $70M.


Spin-out: Zenithnano

Established in Haidian District, Beijing in February 2018, Zenithnano is a nanomaterials company that develops and manufactures flexible conductive film. The company’s core product is a flexible transparent and conductive nano film jointly developed by Beijing Institute of Collaborative Innovation (BICI) and the University of Michigan (UMich). As the key project incubated by the BICI, the company’s core team brings together domestic and foreign experts from leading universities and Fortune Global 500 companies such as the University of Michigan, Cornell University, Peking University, and Accenture, providing strong R&D capabilities and rich experience in modern enterprise management.

The company is committed to the R&D, production, and application of new flexible nano conductive electrode materials, and has a number of domestic and foreign patents in its field. The core technology products are fully capable of meeting the requirements of existing industrial production equipment under normal temperature environments in a manner that is both cheap and easy to prepare. In addition to serving as the best core basic film material for flexible applications, the company’s products are also widely used across applications such as touch control components, photovoltaic power generation, photovoltaic display, smart glass, and electronic shielding, where they exceed existing electrode products in terms of performance, cost, and other metrics. The company has established strategic partnerships and intentions with several domestic and international customers.


Zhang, Cheng, et al. "Thin‐Metal‐Film‐Based Transparent Conductors: Material Preparation, Optical Design, and Device Applications." Advanced Optical Materials 9.3 (2021): 2001298.