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REPORT # Nano-200 PUBLISHED June 14, 2010
Transparent Conductor Markets 2010: ITO and the Alternatives
CATEGORIES :
  • Advanced Materials
  • SUMMARY
    The past year has seen important developments in the transparent conductors arena.  While 2009 was a year of risk aversion for the users of ITO and one of delay and reassessment for the makers of alternative transparent conductors, in 2010 the specter of rising indium prices has given the makers of alternative transparent conductors a more focused target on industries that are both in the early stages of emergence and preparing to face performance and cost pressures in the near future.  This report thoroughly analyzes the opportunities for these alternative transparent conductors as well as those for ITO to retain and even grow its share in some segments. In particular, we look at the future for ITO in the many applications in which final product prices are expected to decline, while ITO costs are expected to increase.  How big a share of the BOM can ITO eat , before OEMs start turning to alternatives.
     
    Newer, emerging technologies like OLED lighting and OPV are recognizing that they must adopt new transparent conducting materials—and soon—not only to keep costs in control but also to boost performance and to enhance the flexibility that sets these technologies apart from those they compete with.  In addition, the long-standing dissatisfaction of the touch-screen industry with ITO is again taking center stage as touch-screen technologies diverge into high-end and low-end varieties.  The low-end touch-screens—mainly analog-resistive ones—continue to face durability issues with the repeated flexing of brittle ITO while cost issues are escalating as ITO returns to higher price points.  Meanwhile, at the high-end of the touch-screen market the focus is turning toward improving optical and electrical performance, especially if doing so can provide pathways to lower cost as well.  And newer transparent conductors are not limited to the electrodes in displays and touch-screens; they are also beginning to displace other materials for electromagnetic shielding and electrostatic charge dissipation.
     
    This is not to say that ITO is on the way out everywhere.  Indeed, in ITO’s largest market by far—conventional flat-panel displays, especially LCDs—process conservatism and performance sensitivity will cause ITO to remain the dominant transparent conductor in this huge market, and in the overall transparent conductor market, throughout the eight-year scope of this report.
     
    With these considerations in mind, this report provides a new opportunity analysis against the backdrop of the transparent conductor market landscape:  ITO, the clear leader in both the largest market—displays—and in applications that are not yet commercial; other transparent conducting oxides (TCOs) that provide cost relief but little else; transparent organic conductors that are having a heyday in antistatic and other lower-performance applications; and the expanding field of nanomaterials including carbon nanotubes, graphene, metal nanowires and nanoparticles, and composite materials combining one or more of these materials, sometimes with others like ITO or organics.  The report also explores the alternative approaches to ITO deposition, mainly the on-again, off-again efforts toward commercializing ITO inks.
     
    This report is required reading for all suppliers of ITO and alternative transparent conductors as well as for firms using transparent conductors—especially if considering a change to a different material or process—and investors in the transparent conductor companies, materials, and technologies.  We discuss strategic marketing issues and provide forecasts of the market penetration of each of the transparent conductor classes, as well as discussing the latest activities of the leading and most promising companies working in this field.
  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Executive Summary

    E.1  2010:The Slow Road to Recovery and the Impact on Transparent Conductor Markets
    E.2 ITO's Strongholds: Where ITO Is Assured of a Growing Market
    E.3 ITO Ceding Ground: Where Alternative Transparent Conductors  Will Make Major Inroads
    E.4 Opportunities for Other Transparent Conducting Oxides
    E.5 Opportunities for Transparent Organic Conductors
    E.6 Opportunities for Nanomaterials
    E.7 Firms to Watch
    E.8 Summary of Forecasts
     
    Chapter One: Introduction
    1.1 Background to this Report
    1.1.1 The Cost of ITO: Certain to be Uncertain
    1.1.2 The Alternative Transparent Conductors: Trying Again
    1.1.3 The Applications: Will They Stay with ITO or Will They Go?
    1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report
    1.3 Methodology of this Report
    1.4 Plan of this Report
     
    Chapter Two: New Developments in ITO and Other Transparent Conductors
    2.1 Introduction
    2.2 ITO and Cost: The Rebounding Market for Indium
    2.2.1 Is the Indium Market Different Now than Before the Recession?
    2.2.2 Recycling and Reclamation of Indium and ITO
    2.2.3 Will the Indium Scare Return?
    2.3 Addressing ITO's Flexibility and Wastage Concerns: Alternative Deposition
    2.3.1 ITO Inks and Printing
    2.3.2 Particle Production for Inks and Other Deposition Processes
    2.4 Addressing Just the Cost: Other Transparent Conducting Oxides
    2.4.1 Tin Oxide and Coated Glass Substrates
    2.4.2 Zinc Oxide and the Top of the Layer Stack
    2.4.3 Other TCOs, With and Without Indium
    2.5 Transparent Organic Conductors as a Low-Cost, Flexible Alternative
    2.5.1 PEDOT:PSS and Performance
    2.5.2 Cost Trends for PEDOT:PSS
    2.6 Nanosilver and Other Nanometals: Metal's New Life as a Conductor
    2.6.1 From Metal Grids to Random Metal Networks
    2.6.2 Cost Considerations with Nanosilver
    2.6.3 Nanosilver's Opportunities
    2.7 Carbon Nanotubes: The Prospect of Higher Performance and Lower Cost
    2.7.1 Limiting the Carbon Nanotube: Making Them "Just Conductors"
    2.7.2 Opportunities for Transparent Carbon Nanotube Films
    2.7.3 The Carbon Nanotube Cost Roadmap
    2.7.4 A Word about Graphene
    2.8 Key Points Made In This Chapter
     
    Chapter Three: Applications and Markets for ITO and Other Transparent Conductors
    3.1 Introduction
    3.2 Conventional Flat-Panel Display Markets: Stuck On ITO
    3.2.1 Efforts to Introduce Different Transparent Conductors
    3.2.2 What Will It Take to Displace ITO?
    3.3 E-Paper, OLEDs, and the Promise of Flexibility
    3.3.1 Where E-Paper Stands with Regard to Transparent Conductors
    3.3.2 The Elusive Goal of Flexibility
    3.4 Touch Screens: Increasing Demands on Transparent Conductors
    3.4.1 Analog-Resistive Touch Screens and the Durability Issue
    3.4.2 Analog-Resistive Touch Screens and the Cost Issue
    3.4.3 Projected-Capacitive Touch Screens: Where Transparency and Conductivity Rule
    3.4.4 Transparent Conductors in Other Touch-Screen Technologies
    3.5 Photovoltaics: ITO on the Way Out
    3.5.1 Thin-Film Silicon and the Ongoing Exodus from ITO
    3.5.2 OPV and DSC: What Will Replace ITO, and Will It Matter?
    3.5.3 Are FTO and AZO Here to Stay?
    3.6 Solid-State Lighting: Rapid Changes and the Impact on Transparent Conductors
    3.6.1 The Quest for Anything But ITO
    3.6.2 When Will OLED Lighting Go Flexible?
    3.7 Other Applications for Transparent Conductive Coatings
    3.7.1 Transparent Antistatic Coatings
    3.7.2 Transparent Electromagnetic Shielding
    3.8 Key Points Made in this Chapter
     
    Chapter Four: Eight-Year Forecasts for ITO and Alternative Transparent Conductor Markets
    4.1 Forecasting Methodology
    4.1.1 Market Segments Covered
    4.1.2 Differences from Last Year's Forecasts
    4.2 Alternative Scenarios
    4.3 Eight-Year Forecasts of ITO and Other Transparent Conductors by Material Type
    4.4 Eight-Year Forecasts of ITO and Other Transparent Conductors by Application
    4.4.1 Flat-Panel Displays
    4.4.2 Touch-Screen Displays
    4.4.3 Flexible and E-Paper Displays
    4.4.4 OLED Lighting
    4.4.5 Thin-Film and Organic Photovoltaics
    4.4.6 Electromagnetic Shielding and Antistatic Coatings
    4.5 Summary of Forecasts
    Abbreviations an Acronyms Used In this Report
    About the Author
     
     
    List of Exhibits
     
    Exhibit E-1: Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Transparent Conductive Materials by Material Type
    Exhibit E-2: Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Transparent Conductive Materials by Application ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 2-1: Indium Price and Production Trends (Values in Metric Tons Unless Noted)
    Exhibit 2-2: Council to Promote Commercialization of Zinc Oxide Film
    Exhibit 4-1: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Material Type ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 4-2: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials Requirements in Flat-Panel Displays
    Exhibit 4-3: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Type in Flat-Panel Displays
    Exhibit 4-4: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials Requirements in Touch-Screen Displays
    Exhibit 4-5: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Type in Touch Screen Displays
    Exhibit 4-6: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Material Requirements in Flexible and E-Paper  Displays
    Exhibit 4-7: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Type in Flexible and E-Paper Displays
    Exhibit 4-8: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials Requirements in OLED Lighting
    Exhibit 4-9: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Type in OLED Lighting
    Exhibit 4-10: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials Requirements in Thin-Film and Organic Photovoltaics
    Exhibit 4-11: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Type in Thin-Film Photovoltaics
    Exhibit 4-12: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Type in Electromagnetic Shielding
    Exhibit 4-13: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Type in Antistatic Coatings
    Exhibit 4-14: Summary of Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials by Application ($ Millions)

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