Barrier Layers for Flexible Electronics 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts: IDTechEx

This report has been updated. Click here to view latest edition.

If you have previously purchased the archived report below then please use the download links on the right to download the files.

Barrier Layers for Flexible Electronics 2016-2026: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts

Encapsulation films, in-line deposition, ALD and flexible glass

Show All Description Contents, Table & Figures List Pricing Related Content
A large opportunity lies in the development of devices in a flexible form factor that can operate without deterioration in performance, allowing them to be more robust, lightweight and versatile in their use. In order for flexible displays and photovoltaics to be commercially successful, they must be robust enough to survive for the necessary time and conditions required of the device. This condition has been a limitation of many flexible, organic or printable electronics. This highlights the fact that beyond flexibility, printability and functionality, one of the most important requirements is encapsulation as many of the materials used in printed or organic electronic displays are chemically sensitive, and will react with many environmental components such as oxygen and moisture.
These materials can be protected using substrates and barriers such as glass and metal, but this results in a rigid device and does not satisfy the applications demanding flexible devices. Plastic substrates and transparent flexible encapsulation barriers can be used, but these offer little protection to oxygen and water, resulting in the devices rapidly degrading.
In order to achieve device lifetimes of tens of thousands of hours, water vapor transmission rates (WVTR) must be 10-6 g/m2/day, and oxygen transmission rates (OTR) must be < 10-3 cm3/m2/day. For Organic Photovoltaics, the required WVTR is not as stringent as OLEDs require but is still very high at a level of 10-5 g/m2/day. These transmission rates are several orders of magnitude smaller than what is possible using any conventional plastic substrate, and they can also be several orders of magnitude smaller than what can be measured using common equipment designed for this purpose.
Table 1: Water vapor and oxygen transmission rates of various materials
Source: IDTechEx
For these (and other) reasons, there has been intense interest in developing transparent barrier materials with much lower permeabilities, a market that will reach over $200 million by 2025.
Figure 1: Barrier layer market forecasts in US$ million*
*For the full forecast data please purchase this report
Source: IDTechEx
This report from IDTechEx gives an in-depth review of the needs, emerging solutions and players. It addresses specific topics such as:
  • Companies which are active in the development of high barrier films and their achievements on the field to date. The report covers a range of approaches in encapsulation, such as dyads, deposition of inorganic layers on plastic substrates and flexible glass.
  • Surface smoothness and defects (such as cracks and pinholes) and the effect that these would have on the barrier behavior of the materials studied.
  • Traditional methods of measurement of permeability are reaching the end of their abilities. The MOCON WVTR measurement device, which has been an industry standard, cannot give adequate measurements at the low levels of permeability required for technologies such as organic photovoltaics and OLEDs. Other methods of measurement and equipment developed are being discussed.
  • Forecasts for displays, lighting and thin film photovoltaics (in terms of market value as well as area of barrier film sold into different verticals), in order to understand the influence that the development of flexible barriers would have at the mass deployment and adoption of these technologies.
For those developing flexible electronics, seeking materials needs and opportunities, this is a must-read report.
Analyst access from IDTechEx
All report purchases include up to 30 minutes telephone time with an expert analyst who will help you link key findings in the report to the business issues you're addressing. This needs to be used within three months of purchasing the report.
Further information
If you have any questions about this report, please do not hesitate to contact our report team at or call one of our sales managers:

AMERICAS (USA): +1 617 577 7890
ASIA (Japan): +81 3 3216 7209
ASIA (Korea): +82 10 3896 6219
EUROPE (UK) +44 1223 812300
Table of Contents
1.1.Example of flexible OLED displays encapsulated in curved, rigid glass by Samsung and LG
1.2.Universal Display Corporation's flexible encapsulation used in OLED lighting panels
1.3.Flexible solar cell developed by Fraunhofer ISE
2.1.In SID 2014 DIGEST ISSN 0097-966X/14/4501-0322 and SID 2014 DIGEST ISSN 0097-966X/14/4501-0326
2.1.Trend within major display companies
2.2.J Webb et al., "Flexible Glass Substrates for Electronic Applications" , Flex2014, Short Course" Design Characteristics and Considerations for Flexible Substrates"
2.2.TFE vs. Barrier Lamination
2.3.ML barrier on Flexible Plastics vs. Flexible Glass.
2.3.L.Moro et al. "Barrier Films and Thin Film Encapsulation AMAT Flexible Display Workshop, September 17, 2013
2.4.J. Fahlteich et al., "Ultra-high permeation barriers and functional films for large-area flexible electronics" , LOPE-C 2014
2.4.Single or multi-layer?
2.5.Flexible substrate handling
2.6.Atomic layer deposition present and future outlook/market share
3.1.Water vapor and oxygen transmission rates of various materials, comparison to OLED/LCD requirements and the MOCON detection limit
3.1.Schematic diagrams for encapsulated structures a) conventional b) laminated c) deposited in situ
3.2.Scanning electron micrograph image of a barrier film cross section
3.2.Requirements of barrier materials
4.1.Oxygen transmission rates of polypropylene with various coatings
4.1.Important considerations of surface smoothness
4.1.Visual defects of a selection of materials with barrier films highlighted through calcium corrosion test. Optical microscope magnification 10x
4.2.SEM pictures of the Atmospheric Plasma Glow Discharge deposited silica-like films on polymer substrates. Left: Film with embedded dust particles . Right: uniform film
4.2.Micro Defects
4.2.1.Pinholes - particles
4.2.2.Smoothness / Cracks-Scratches
4.3.OTR as a function of defect density, the correlation between defect density and the oxygen transmission rate
4.4.SEM image of a pinhole defect formed from a dust particle
4.5.Scanning electron microscope image of ITO coated on parylene/polymer film
4.6.The measurement of OLED's lifetime of SiON/PC/ITO and SiON/parylene/PC/parylene/ITO substrate
5.1.Examples of polymer multi-layer (PML) surface planarization a) OLED cathode separator structure b) high aspect ratio test structure
5.2.Vitex multilayer deposition process
5.3.SEM cross section of Vitex Barix material with four dyads
5.4.Optical transmission of Vitex Barix coating
5.5.Edge seal barrier formation by deposition through shadow masks
5.6.Three dimensional barrier structure. Polymer is shown in red, and oxide (barrier) shown in blue
5.7.Schematic of flexible OLED with hybrid encapsulation
5.8.Schematic of cross section of graded barrier coating and complete barrier film structure
5.9.Transparency of GE's UHB film versus wavelength
6.1.Scanning electron micrograph of a thin hybrid polymer coating on SiOx deposited on a flexible PET film
6.2.OTR values achieved with different POLO multilayers
7.1.Area sealing
7.2.DELO's light curing adhesive solution for electrophoretic displays
7.3.Performance characteristics of DELO's light-curing materials
7.4.3M adhesive product offering
8.1.Overview of main performance metrics for some of the most important developers
8.1.Deposition of dyads or inorganic layers on polymer substrates
8.1.Amcor (formerly Alcan) Packaging flexible barrier based on PET and SiOx47
8.1.1.Toppan Printing
8.1.3.Holst Centre - TNO
8.1.5.Toray Industries Inc
8.1.11.Konica Minolta
8.1.14.LG Display
8.1.15.Applied Materials
8.1.16.Meyer Burger Group
8.2.Other companies developing polymer-based films
8.2.Electron Beam evaporation of Silicon Oxide
8.2.1.Dow Chemical
8.3.Flexible glass
8.3.Tera Barrier Films design and concept
8.3.1.Schott AG
8.3.3.Asahi Glass Company (AGC)
8.3.4.Nippon Electric Glass (NEG)
8.4.ALD deposition for flexible barriers
8.4.The layout of the Fujifilm DBD plasma reactor
8.5.Other approaches
8.5.Surface morphology of the a) pristine PEN substrate Rq = 1.1±0.1 nm, b) 70 nm thick silica-like film deposited on PEN Rq = 1.1±0.3 nm
8.5.1.CNM Technologies
8.6.The atmospheric pressure DBD plasma facility for production of ultra-barrier foils at pilot plant scale.
8.7.LG Display hybrid solution
8.8.Design of panel side to improve PCL overflow
8.9.FTIR testing of Silicon Nitride deposited by PE-CVD as a flexible barrier, before and after testing
8.10.Corning flexible glass showcased at SID 2011
8.11.AGC's ultra-thin sheet glass on carrier glass and rolled into a coil
8.12.OLED lighting panel by NEG
8.13.Lithium ion battery combined with an a-Si solar cell
8.14.A stack of alternating Alumina/Aluminum-titanate layers grown into a 350 μm deep by 1 μm wide porous Si membrane
8.15.ALD thin film materials
9.1.OLED displays - OLED lighting
9.1.When the light from a conventional "white" YAG LED passes through a color filter, the green and red distributions are relatively broad and appear unsaturated. When light from an LED is converted by QDs instead of a yellow phosphor
9.2.The color gamut produced by a display with a QD-equipped backlight can be approximately 50% larger than the gamut produced by the same display with a conventional white YAG LED backlight
9.2.Quantum-dot (QD) LCDs
9.3.The structure of 3M's QDEF
9.4.Introducing QDEF is minimally disruptive to typical LCD architecture. Because QDEF has diffusive properties, it can simply replace the current diffuser film in an LCD, while other components remain in place. The only other signifi
9.4.Liquid Crystal Displays - Electrophoretic Displays
9.6.CIGS - amorphous Si
10.1.Lower detection limits of several barrier performance measurement techniques
10.1.The Calcium Test m m2 area of a 50 nm layer of Ca deposited onto barrier coated PET viewed through the substrate. i. Image after 1632 h of exposure to atmosphere; ii. Image analysis whereby the grey scale of Ca degradation is processed to yie
10.2.A simple set-up for measuring optical transmission of calcium test cells
10.3.Vinci Technologies
10.3.MOCON's Aquatran™ Model 138
10.4.MOCON's Aquatran™ schematic
10.5.VG Scienta
10.5.MOCON's OX-TRAN® Model 2/1039
10.6.Silica induced black spots, letters A & B mark black spots with a centralized black dot (silica particle)
10.6.Fluorescent Tracers
10.7.Black Spot Analysis
10.7.Black spot formation and growth mechanisms
10.8.General Atomics HTO WVTR testing apparatus
10.8.Tritium Test
10.9.Measurement Scheme
10.10.WVTR result from a high barrier sample
10.12.Mass Spectroscopy - gas permeation (WVTR & OTR potential applications)
10.13.Kisco Uniglobe
11.1.Leading market drivers 2026
11.1.The potential significance of organic and printed inorganic electronics
11.1.Leading market drivers 2026
11.2.Barrier layer area forecasts 2016-2026 in square meters
11.2.Barrier films market size
11.2.Barrier layer area forecasts 2016-2026 in square meters
11.3.Barrier layer market forecasts 2016-2026 in US$ millions
11.3.Flexible glass or inorganic layers on plastic substrates?
11.3.Barrier layer market forecasts 2016-2026 in US$ millions
11.4.Corning's Flexible glass with protective tabbing on the edges
12.1.Examples of rigid e-readers by Amazon and Barnes & Noble
12.2.The Wexler flexible e-reader
12.3.Samsung Display's first flexible OLED product, the 5.7" Full-HD AMOLED
12.4.Truly flexible OLED lighting panel developed from LG Chem

Report Statistics

Pages 114
Tables 8
Figures 67
Forecasts to 2026

Subscription Enquiry