Flexibility and electrical stability of polyester-based device electrodes under monotonic and cyclic buckling conditions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • G.A. Potoczny
  • T.S. Bejitual
  • K.A. Sierros
  • D.R. Cairns

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Virginia


The flexibility and electrical stability of highly conductive and transparent amorphous indium tin oxide (a-ITO) films coated on polyethylene terephthalate and polyethylene naphthalate substrates were investigated by buckling tests with in situ monitoring of the electrical resistance. Monotonic and cyclic loading tests of the ITO/polymer systems were conducted. The results show that monotonic buckling in tension is more critical for electromechanical stability of ITO films than in compression (an increase in electrical resistance was observed at a critical radius of curvature, of ∼ 3 and ∼ 1 mm, respectively for both cases investigated). In contrast, cyclic loading tests show that the compression mode is more critical than the tensile mode which may be a result of the residual stress present in the film structure. Failure of the ITO film was caused by buckling-driven delamination observed using scanning electron microscopy after the tests. The presence of residual stress could mean that buckling-driven delamination is the dominant failure mode for ITO/polymer systems under repeated flexing. In general, comparable electromechanical stability was observed in both cases. Investigating the electromechanical response of such material systems is important for polymer substrate selection and life-time prediction of flexible polyester-based electronic devices.

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Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalThin Solid Films
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2013