The increasing use of Carbon nanotubes and metallic nanowires to fabricate electrodes and devices has led to a keen interest in the percolative nature of microscale 2D networks created from conductive sticks. To date the modeling of such systems has included several approximations such as sticks of constant length, straight sticks and completely isotropic wire orientations. These approximations generally lead to an error in the estimation of the critical density required to achieve percolation.
We have coupled Monte Carlo simulations of 2D conductive stick networks with experiments to understand the nature of these systems. The Monte Carlo simulations we perform include several new parameters that open a window into more realistic models of these 2D networks. The impact of finite scaling and length distributions are explored along with a study of the influence of junction resistances and the formation of efficient conductive pathways in an existing percolative network. These results are coupled to electrical measurements of silver nanowire networks and the observed results are explained theoretically in terms of parallel resistance formation and percolative behavior.
The results of these simulations are also employed to explore the characteristic length of percolation in a system with a density above that of the infinite systems’ critical density. Further simulations explore the use of these systems in solar cell devices, investigating the impact of wire density on the collection efficiency of conductive stick electrodes.