Desiccation cracks in colloids are of the order of µm width or less. Therefore, such connected crack networks in a desiccating colloidal ﬁlm can provide a very ﬁne template for the fabrication of transparent conducting surfaces by vapour deposition of a metal onto the crack network (Rao $et al$ 2014 $Adv. Mater. Interfaces$ 1 140009). The colloidal layer is removed leaving a connected metallic network invisible to the eye. So the surface becomes conducting, while retaining its transparency. The challenge lies in maximizing electrical conductivity while retaining the transparency as far as possible. An optimal combination of the system parameters, which affect the morphology of the crack network is necessary to meet this challenge. In this work, we simulate crack pattern in desiccating colloidal ﬁlms in three dimensions using a spring network model. We look for the optimal combination of system parameters, such as ﬁlm thickness, material stiffness and polydispersity, which can produce the best template for producing a conducting network on transparent surfaces.
Volume 43, 2020
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