Institute of Nanotechnology
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Nanotechnology Report

Transparent Conductor Markets in the OLED Industry 2011 and Beyond

Category: Transport, Energy & Environment Published: Nov 2010 View Contents
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We have predicted that OLEDs will be one of the fastest-growing markets for transparent conductors. This is because after years of OLEDs being confined to small passive matrix (PM) displays, this technology is now bursting out of its confines into lighting and especially into cell phone main displays, a now completely commercialized application. It seems that large active matrix (AM) OLED TVs priced competitively with LCD displays will not be far behind. In the past, some OLED TVs have appeared on the retail market, but both their price and performance have suggested that they were intended to test the waters not to generate large amounts of business.

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These are game changing developments for the transparent conductor firms. First these firms will have to change their products to meet the needs of the OLED display industry, which are different from the needs of the LCD display industry. For one thing, ITO is not chemically well suited to OLED use. And the OLED industry, which is still at a stage of immaturity relative to the LCD industry, has not made any large investments yet in ITO. So the rise of OLEDs represents yet another challenge for the future of ITO and another opportunity for other TCO, conductive polymers and nanomaterials that seek to replace them.

Meanwhile, the advent of OLED lighting represents a significant expansion of the markets for transparent conductors, which have never been sold in large quantities into the lighting market before; indeed prior to the interest in OLED lighting beginning a few years ago the only transparent conductors sold into the lighting market was for the relatively small EL lighting segment. OLED lighting should be especially interesting to transparent conductor firms because the final product goal of OLED lights is large panels that will use a considerable amount of material. This report analyzes and discusses each of the competing forms of transparent conductors as they relate to OLED lighting and OLED displays, and also looks at the OLED lighting and OLED display markets to identify the unique needs of each class of devices in terms of transparent conductors. Which types of OLED product will continue to use ITO and which will move to alternative transparent conductors?

We also examine trends in manufacturing—such as roll-to-roll processes and printing—and include an eight-year forecast of transparent conductor markets for OLED lighting and display applications. This report will be essential reading for ITO suppliers and developers of other transparent conductors, as well as for executives in OLED lighting and display firms. In total, this new report provides a complete analysis of the new business available for the transparent conductors industry from the rapidly growing OLED market.