Institute of Nanotechnology
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Nanotechnology Report

Zinc Oxide Markets, 2010 and Beyond

Category: Materials Published: Sep 2010 View Contents
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Electronic copies include a five user licence. Contact andrew.stewart@nano.org.uk for more information.

Two years ago, when weproduced our first report on Zinc Oxide (ZnO), ZnO was being touted as the next big thing in semiconductor materials. However, because of the recession and the usual hyperbole that accompanies any new technology or materials, the enthusiasm for ZnO in the electronics community has declined.

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Nonetheless, the basic value proposition ZnO as an electronics material remains the same. It is inexpensive, well understood and has interesting (conducting and semiconducting) properties. ZnO is also relatively abundant, chemically stable, easy to prepare, and non-toxic.

As a result, we believe that Zinc Oxide once again faces some attractive new business opportunities in the near future. In the conductive coating space, new markets for ZnO has opened up because there are rapidly growing applications in OLED lighting and photovoltaics, for example where ITO is not entrenched and where cost sensitivity makes ITO replacement a priority.

But we see the new electronics applications for ZnO as much broader than that. ZnO can be used as a semiconductor capable of making inexpensive transistors, power electronics devices, or even low-cost LEDs. ZnO's ability to be engineered into interesting nanostructures hints at even more applications down the road.

There remain technical difficulties that still need to be worked out if ZnO is to achieve its full potential. Yet the number of patent filings of ZnO uses in electronics continues to grow and we believe that ZnO will represent a substantial market as an electronic material over the next eight years.

With all these developments in ZnO electronics in mind, we are publishing this new report which identifies and quantifies the latest opportunities for ZnO in the electronics sector. The report discusses the revenue potential of all of the major applications areas for ZnO and how the industry will have to change to fulfill the promise that ZnO presents to the electronics industry.

ZnO is also relatively abundant, chemically stable, easy to prepare, and non-toxic.