Trends in Advanced Functional Materials
Nov 27, 2018 Raghu Das
On 4-6 December 2018 IDTechEx Research is hosting six half-day forums which will provide vital business intelligence on advanced functional materials covering material production techniques, performance versus market need, applications, players and forecasts. In this article, we highlight some of the trends that will be covered in the forums.
The market leadership in traditional volume markets for conductive inks has changed hands with previously low-cost low-quality suppliers rising to the top. The paste manufacturers are now all in search of new emerging markets in the hope that future growth in some will compensate for the decline or the loss of market share in the traditional sectors. Consequently, most paste makers have hugely diversified their product offerings addressing a diverse array of nascent markets each with a different set of technology and market challenges/opportunities.
Transparent conductive films
The transparent conductive film (TCF) market went through a tough consolidation phase in the past few years. This phase was motivated by the sluggish growth in existing markets, disappointing growth in large-area devices, and the rising threat of substitutes to the incumbent players. These market conditions motivated the incumbent players to slash sales prices, transforming the competitive environment for alternative technologies. This strategy now approaches the end of its usefulness and therefore the industry is now entering into a new, distinct growth phase. In parallel, technological shifts in end use markets such as the transition from add-on to embedded touch adversely affected the addressable markets.
Substrates for Flexible Electronics
Substrates are also an essential and often neglected layer for flexible and/or organic electronics. They bring robustness and enable flexibility, but at the same time place substantial constraints on the manufacturing process (e.g., thermal budget, dimensional stability) in a way that they can largely determine device performance. Many plastic solutions are used such as PET and PEN but also paper based substrates are increasingly gaining attention while some seek stretchable, washable substrates.
Graphene and other 2D Materials
There is now good global capacity to make graphene and suppliers are focussed on realistic, short term markets. Prices have fallen and all this is leading to strong commercial interest - IDTechEx expects strong take-off in sales around 2021, creating a market nearing $350 million for the material in 2028.
Non-graphene 2D Materials are also now at the forefront of the next wave of research with many hoping that it will lead to the establishment of a diverse family of complementary 2D materials covering the full range of material characteristics. In our forums we will highlight some of the ways for making non-graphene 2D materials whilst reviewing the latest technical progress on a few select 2D materials.
Organic devices, in particular OLED and OPV ones, are highly sensitive to moisture, requiring ultra-high performance barrier or encapsulation layers. Glass is an excellent barrier, but is rigid, therefore potentially stripping away organic electronics of a key differentiating attribute, which is flexibility. Developing flexible, transparent and ultra-high performance barriers has been challenging. Numerous solutions have however being developed across the world, ranging from ultra-thin flexible glass to multi-layer films or conformal coatings. Success here can change the economics of organic and/or printed electronics and is already enabling plastic (and soon flexible) displays.
The IDTechEx Research Forums will provide deep depth including significant market data to allow you to understand these complex landscapes. Attendees will leave with a clear, quantified view of the markets, technology assessment, key players and their strategy for market adoption, with lessons from success and failures. For more information see www.idtechex.com/cambridge.