Optically Transparent, Electrically Conductive Composite Medium

Science  24 Jan 1992:
Vol. 255, Issue 5043, pp. 446-448
DOI: 10.1126/science.255.5043.446


The development of an optically transparent yet electrically conductive material made with a composite structure having preferentially arranged conductive paths is described. The medium contains many vertically aligned but laterally isolated chains of ferromagnetic spheres dispersed in a sheet of transparent polymer. The sheet material transmits more than 90 percent of the incident light and is highly conductive only in the thickness direction. When suitably modified, the material exhibits on-off electrical switchability at a certain threshold pressure. These characteristics confer potential usefulness for visual communication devices such as write pads or touch-sensitive screens.