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Nanotechnology Report

Markets for OLED Materials

Category: Materials Published: Jun 2011 View Contents
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For the better part of a decade: OLED materials represented, at best, no more than niche opportunity for specialty chemical companies and a few start-ups. The small PM OLED displays that found their way into MP3 players and cell phone sub-displays represented an addressable market of sorts for materials firms, but one that seemed destined to be plagued forever with cost challenges and low margins. While materials firms were happy to participate in this market, their enthusiasm remained curbed by the fact that their products seemed likely to be quickly commoditized.

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But in the last year to 18 months, the opportunities for OLED materials have grown in important ways. OLED displays have been “mainstreamed” with the arrival of mass market cell phones that use OLED technology for their primary displays. Meanwhile, OLED lighting can already be purchased in the form of “designer” chandeliers and table lamps; with larger segments of the lighting market likely to be penetrated by OLED lighting in the next few years. And while the first attempts to introduce OLED TVs have stumbled, it seems that next year will see the introduction of OLED TVs on the market with much greater chances of market success than the products that preceded them.

All of these trends mean that the addressable market for OLED materials are rapidly growing and will continue to do so. This means that pricing for these materials should finally be able to take advantage of real economies of scale. Until now, OLED materials seem to have been stuck in between the high prices that are typical of a research material and much lower ones that are associated with widely used electronic materials.

However, these welcome trends will be accompanied by new demands on OLED materials makers. For example, AM OLED displays are largely being marketed in the consumer electronics space on image quality and vibrancy of color. This raises the question as to how materials makers can improve their products to help their customers sell more OLED cell phones and TVs. In the OLED lighting space, the focus is on efficiency and reducing total cost of ownership and, here again, it seems that OLED materials suppliers can develop proprietary solutions that will give them long-term competitive advantages.

This report provides its latest assessment of the opportunities in OLED materials. Included in this report are granular eight-year forecasts of OLED materials, with breakouts by type of material and application. The report covers the commercial implications of technical developments, such as in doping and novel OLED device structures and it also takes an in-depth look at the product and marketing strategies of the major players in this space ranging from giant chemical firms such as BASF, DuPont and Sumitomo to specialty firms such as Novaled and Plextronics. The report also examines whether after years of unkept promises printing may now have found an important role in the OLED space.

In the last year to 18 months, the opportunities for OLED materials have grown in important ways.