NanoMarkets provides market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets
April 23, 2014 Category:
NanoMarkets has been following the fortunes of the smart windows sector for six years now. In that time we have seen few if any great leaps forward either in terms of market expansion or in terms of technology. This judgment remains true whether one considers "smart windows" to include only "self-tinting" windows (the most common definition) or whether one adopts a broader definition of smart windows that includes self-healing and self-cleaning windows.
April 08, 2014 Category: Smart Technology
The smart lighting market is undergoing a transition that we expect will lead to expanded opportunities for many different types of companies. The older generation of so-called smart lighting systems—really no more than lighting management systems—that were not much more than motion sensors and timers has evolved into systems that are much smarter. The smart home and smart office of the future that has existed in the imagination of writers and futurists seems really to now be on the horizon, thanks to advances in technology that are leading to the availability of more features at lower prices.
April 02, 2014 Category: Advanced Materials
Metal meshes – previously not under serious consideration as transparent conductors (TCs) because of their lack of transparency – have now overcome their performance limitations and are seen as serious competition for ITO in several applications, especially those that require large panels for displays, lighting, or solar energy. Bringing metal meshes into larger displays can be a way for metal mesh manufacturers to increase their revenue streams, which now are constrained because the markets that they are chasing, such as touch screen sensors, are not very large.
March 27, 2014 Category: Emerging Electronics
The new generation of wearable and flexible gadgets such as smart watches, glasses, and fitness trackers, all require batteries that are flexible and small enough to fit into these devices. This could give a big boost to the prospects for thin film and printed batteries, but it’s not yet clear which companies will benefit most. Existing thin film (TF) battery suppliers may be able to leverage their expertise, but OEMs are pursuing wearable applications and developing their own batteries, posing a threat to the TF battery suppliers.
While multiple large and influential companies are pursuing TF battery technology, two in particular seem well-positioned and motivated to go after the wearable electronics sector: LG Chemical and Apple.
March 19, 2014 Category: Advanced Materials
Phosphors are critical to the future of LEDs because they address the quality of LED lighting in fundamental ways:
- Greater range of color – beyond combining blue LEDs with yellow phosphors to increase the quality of white light, there are opportunities for high-quality red phosphors to provide better color rendering.
- Improved efficacy and lower cost – existing phosphors have been able to provide LEDs with 100 percent greater increase in LED efficacy and a 50 to 200 percent decline in price, and new phosphor materials may be able to do even better.
These characteristics of phosphors can help expand markets where LEDs are already gaining market share, such as general illumination, and also markets where performance concerns or consumer perception has limited the penetration of LEDs. Phosphor firms have an opportunity to make money out of this situation not just because they are an important enabling technology for LEDs but because existing phosphors are not necessarily up to the task at hand. Some applications will require new phosphor materials with better performance
The outlook for flexible glass has changed dramatically since NanoMarkets last issued a report on flexible glass in December 2012. At the time of that report, flexible glass looked poised for commercial success in the display market – Corning had just seriously launched Willow Glass, other glass suppliers were producing ever thinner glass, and rumors were rampant about bendable or curved displays coming from major OEMs. These displays were supposedly going to feature flexible cover glass.
Flexible glass seemed to be a natural fit for the mobile display market, and NanoMarkets and many others assumed that the first significant revenues for flexible glass would come from the table and mobile phone manufacturers. It looked in 2012 as though 2013 would be the year when that prediction would come to fruition. Obviously, that did not happen, even though the selling points for flexible glass – lighter weight and potentially low cost compared to rigid glass – look on the surface to be exactly what the mobile communications and computing sector needs as smart phones get bigger and tablets become more prevalent.
The turnaround in the PV (photovoltaic) sector has been visible since the second half of 2013. And while 2013 was not a great year the solar industry, including BIPV (Building-Integrated Photovoltaics) in general and BIPV glass in particular is beginning to pick up. While many firms offering BIPV glass have gone under, the ones that emerged from the solar bust are still faced with the same problem; how to get their products into the mainstream construction market and not just prestige buildings.
NanoMarkets believes that in aggregate the opportunities for nanosensors are immense and need for small systems to double as analyzers and data storage entities will drive market growth. But participants in this market must remember that nanosensors are still a new technology, however, and, just as for sensors based on microtechnology, it will take some time for nanosensors to start earning significant revenues. Continuing progress in nanotechnology tools and increasing understanding of nanoscale phenomena, will be necessary to further enhance performance of existing nanosensors and allow researchers to develop nanosensors based on novel mechanisms.
Smart coatings on glass and other substrates have the potential to create added value in a huge range of applications, but this can only be realized if they can provide sufficient performance enhancement at the right price. In the energy industry, the key driver is the desire to improve energy efficiency, and this is especially true in the renewable energy sector. We expect to see increased demand for coatings for solar panels and wind turbines as photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy become more prevalent and improved efficiency and low maintenance costs become increasingly important.