According to a new report from industry analyst firm NanoMarkets, manufacturers of transparent conductors have good reason to view the emerging OLED industry as a viable business opportunity.
The firm's new report claims that OLED displays and lighting will consume almost US$500 million worth of transparent conductors in 2016 as each become multi-billion dollar businesses in their own right. Furthermore, manufacturers of transparent conductor alternatives will have an opportunity to grab market share from indium tin oxide (ITO) as pricing pressures force OLED based device manufactures to seek less costly options.
The report, "Transparent Conductor Markets in the OLED Industry - 2011 and Beyond" is part of the ongoing coverage that NanoMarkets provides of both the conductive materials and OLED industries.
Manufacturers of conductive polymers and of non-ITO transparent conductive oxides (TCOs) will both benefit from the rise of the OLED industry. Tin oxide and zinc oxide may be the first choices for ITO replacement because the deposition processes used with them are familiar to OLED makers. By 2016, NanoMarkets expects alternative TCOs to account for 21 percent by volume of electrode materials used by OLEDs.
However, conductive polymers are a better choice for electrodes in the flexible lighting and flexible displays that are expected to hit the market in three to five years. In addition, these polymer materials will also find a market in OLED hole injection layers (HILs) as well as electrodes.
OLEDs are still waiting for conductive materials that can combine high performance with lower cost and NanoMarkets claims that nanomaterials will be able to deliver these requirements. It notes, however, that while the expectation of a few years ago was that nanocarbon materials would provide the next generation of transparent conductive materials, the focus is now more on nanosilver and nanocomposites.