Silver nanowires (AgNW) are key enabling nanomaterials rapidly augmenting current technology for touchscreen displays, printed electronics, photovoltaics, and portable biomedical devices. However, Ag NW are high aspect ratio and reactive nanomaterials whose potential for adverse impacts remains poorly characterized. The NanoWIR2ES consortium has guided technology development of Ag NW toward safer options. Diverse Ag NW were synthesized with varying sizes and morphologies and evaluated by multiple criteria by the consortium for potential human and environmental impacts. We show that diameter is a property of concern for cytotoxicity as NW with larger diameters (90 nm) provide stiffness leading to cell injury while NW with smaller diameters (30 nm) can be crumpled and isolated by the cell, thus representing NW with inherently lower hazard. We show that technical performance parameters of transparent conductive AgNW networks, i.e. electrical conductivity and optical tranparency, are not deteriotated by these toxicological criteria.
We have developed a novel approach for fast detection of silver release from flexible electronics containing AgNW, thus providing a tool for material safety control, ecodesign and prediction of release under landfill conditions.
1 April 2016 – 31 March 2019