In applications (e.g., solar cells, LEDs, smart windows, displays, touch panels, etc.) where light is required to pass through or interact with an active material beneath an electrode, the electrode is ought to be transparent to allow photons to reach the active material and such electrodes are called transparent conducting electrodes (TCEs). When it comes to working with high-temperature stable TCEs, one is left with only one and that too, an expensive choice, namely, fluorine-doped SnO2 (FTO). In this work, we have shown that ‘SnO2 coated invisible Al mesh’ termed as ‘hybrid mesh’ can be a cost-effective solution to replace the expensive FTO and ITO in those applications. For the fabrication of the hybrid mesh, we have developed an industrial-scale process where SnO2 film is formed on Al micro-mesh by spray coating a precursor solution. The layer not only makes the mesh high-temperature stable but also improves its adhesion to the substrate, and makes it scratch-proof. Additionally, a surface-fluorination on the SnO2 film improves both the environmental and electrochemical stabilities, which are extremely favorable for solar cells, LEDs and smart windows fabrication. Despite being extremely cheap, the electrode has the highest thermal stability among all other FTO and ITO-alternatives and thus, is their most potential replacement for the next-generation optoelectronics.
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