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Market Research Report - 235007

Transparent Conductive Films (TCF) 2015-2025: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies

Published by IDTechEx Ltd.
Published Content info 167 Slides
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Transparent Conductive Films (TCF) 2015-2025: Forecasts, Markets, Technologies
Published: June 1, 2015 Content info: 167 Slides
Report purchase includes 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.

At IDTechEx we have been closely following and analysing the transparent conductive film market for the past five years. To this end, we interviewed or visited more than 40 innovators, suppliers and end users, organised several conferences around the world, developed a detailed and constantly updated forecast datasheet, and advised our clients globally either through consulting or reports. Our market research report on transparent conductive films is the product of our efforts.

Incumbent eventually pushed beyond its performance limit?

Transparent conductive films serve a variety of markets. They are used in touch screen displays, OLED lighting, OPVs, DSSCs, smart windows, reflective displays, etc. Note that glass-based solutions are used in the display market.

The incumbent technology (ITO on PET) currently dominates the market, controlling in excess of 95% market share. This technology has an established value chain. ITO-on-PET technology however has several performance limits: (1) its sheet resistance is typically between 100-300 ohm/sqr, (2) it can sustain a small fixed curvature, and (3) its manufacturing is subtractive.

The application space is changing but much slower than previously anticipated by many. The incumbent solution is good enough for most existing applications, but emerging sectors may push it to or beyond its performance limit. These applications include large-sized touch screens, OLED lighting, OPVs, DSSCs, smart windows, etc.

A common emerging requirement is low sheet resistance (<50 ohm/sqr) to, for example, maintain the current levels of response time and power consumption at larger touch screen sizes, or to increase efficiency of lighting modules. Another trend is the drive towards robustness in the short term and flexibility in the long term. Both these trends push ITO-on-PET outside of its comfort zone, creating a pull for the development of alternatives.

More-for-less or less-for-more?

The go-to-market strategy for alternatives is substituting an incumbent. Therefore, the claimed value proposition has been centred on a more-for-less strategy, meaning that a higher performance is offered at a lower price. This strategy makes more sense for some alternatives more than others.

Graphene, carbon nanotubes and PEDOT are all mediocre performers. Therefore, the actual value proposition for graphene, carbon nanotubes and PEDOT is same-for-more, same-for-same and less-for-less, respectively. This runs against a substitution go-to-market strategy.

It is often noted that all these alternatives provide flexibility, giving them a performance advantage over the incumbent. All alternatives however offer flexibility and truly flexible applications continue to belong to the future.

Silver nanowires and metal mesh solutions do offer a performance advantage. They can reduce the sheet resistance to <10ohm/sqr while maintaining reasonable transparency and haze. They are also mechanically flexible. These alternatives have also raised the performance bar in the market, blocking out other alternatives.

Make or break years

The next two years will be make-or-break years for ITO alternatives. Indeed, we anticipate the ITO alternative scene to consolidate. The ITO alternative market conditions dramatically changed in 2014: the incumbents almost doubled the global production capacity and slashed prices by more than 30% to stave off the threat of substitutes.

In parallel, the market segments in which ITO alternatives commanded a performance advantage disappointed. This is because the sales of large-sized touch displays massively undershot expectations and the emergence of plastic but rigid touch displays proved no panacea because it barely budged ITO from its comfort zone.

The going is getting tough for ITO alternatives. The market has not grown as rapidly as anticipated but the number of ITO alternative suppliers has mushroomed with the proliferation of many 'me too' players.

Leading ITO alternatives are here to stay

We feel that the leading ITO alternatives will be here to stay. The reducing ITO film prices will change their value proposition form more-for-less to closer to more-for-same. This will slow the commercialisation rate but we anticipate that silver nanowires and metal mesh will reach $190m and $140m in 2025, respectively. The journey will however be slow as ITO is just good enough in most existing applications.

The battle in the metal mesh area is fought on narrowing the linewidth and improving throughput and yield. In silver nanowires, haze was a point of differentiation but now attention is focused on innovation at the formulation level. In silver nanowires, the first mover advantage will also matter

Next phase of innovation

We feel that the next phase of innovation needs to disrupt the way transparent conducting films are patterned. This a major cost driver and a particular handicap for the incumbent, despite the largely depreciated CapEx (barring new unutilized capacity brought online last year). We already see early-stage innovative solutions being touted around. It is simply the case now that being a little bit better and a little cheaper will no longer cut it in this hugely competitive field.

This report

This report provides a detailed assessment of the transparent conductive film and glass markets. It provides a data-driven and quantitative analysis and benchmarking of the incumbents and all the emerging options. We have interviewed and profiles all the key suppliers and innovators of each type technology, providing you with critical and analysed business intelligence (more than 40 interview-based profiles).

We have split the market granularly by application, examining the existing markets such as LCD displays and touch screens (mobile, tablet, notebook, monitor, etc) but also a plethora of emerging ones such as OLED lightings, organic photovoltaics, dye sensitised solar cells, electroluminescent displays, smart windows, flexible wearable devices, etc.

We have built up our detailed market forecast spreadsheet in both sqm and value. We have segmented our forecasts by technology type as well as applications. The technologies that we have covered include ITO-on-Glass, ITO-on-PET, metal mesh, silver nanowires, graphene, carbon nanotubes, PEDOT, etc


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.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents



  • 2.1. Transparent conducting layer market forecast by technology
  • 2.2. Transparent conducting layer market forecast by technology
  • 2.3. ITO alternative TCFs- ten year market forecast by technology
  • 2.4. Transparent conducting layer market forecast by technology in km sqr
  • 2.5. Transparent conducting layer market forecast by application in km sqr
  • 2.6. Transparent conducting layer market forecast by application in USD
  • 2.7. Transparent conducting layer market forecast by application in USD


  • 3.1. ITO on Glass
  • 3.2. Application example of ITO-on-Glass
  • 3.3. SWOT Analysis on ITO-on-Glass
  • 3.4. ITO-on-Glass market forecast in km sqr split by application
  • 3.5. ITO-on-Glass ten-year market forecast split by application
  • 3.6. ITO-on-Glass ten-year market forecast split by application
  • 3.7. ITO-on-PET performance
  • 3.8. ITO-on-PET is not flexible
  • 3.9. Large area applications need lower sheet resistance
  • 3.10. ITO requires index matching layers
  • 3.11. ITO-on-PET prices
  • 3.12. Bill-of-Materials for ITO
  • 3.13. Exaggerated single supplier risk?
  • 3.14. ITO is not the thinnest but the substrate is the determinant factor
  • 3.15. ITO-on-PET production capacity
  • 3.16. SWOT analysis on ITO-on-PET
  • 3.17. Key suppliers of ITO-on-PET
  • 3.18. ITO-on-Plastic market forecast in km sqr split by application
  • 3.19. ITO-on-Glass ten-year market forecast split by application
  • 3.20. Non-ITO oxides
  • 3.21. Silver nanowires
  • 3.22. Silver nanowires performance data
  • 3.23. Ag NW transparent conductive films are flexible
  • 3.24. Ag NW touch screens amongst the best performers
  • 3.25. Growth and deposition
  • 3.26. Comparing manufacturing cost of Ag NW and ITO
  • 3.27. Cost structure of Ag NW transparent conductive films
  • 3.28. Existing applications of Ag NW TCFs
  • 3.29. Key players
  • 3.30. Silver nanowire TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
  • 3.31. Silver nanowire TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
  • 3.32. Carbon nanotubes
  • 3.33. CNT production capacity by player and applications
  • 3.34. Carbon nanotube performance as TCF material
  • 3.35. Carbon nanotube TCFs are flexible
  • 3.36. Carbon nanotube TCFs are stretchable and thermo-formable
  • 3.37. CNT TCFs have matched refractive index
  • 3.38. SWOT analysis on carbon nanotube TCFs
  • 3.39. Key players
  • 3.40. Carbon nanotube TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
  • 3.41. Carbon nanotube TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
  • 3.42. There are many graphene types of the market
  • 3.43. Numerous ways of making graphene
  • 3.44. Chemical vapour deposition
  • 3.45. The transfer challenge
  • 3.46. Latest in the transfer challenge
  • 3.47. Direct CVD graphene growth on an insulating substrate?
  • 3.48. Performance of CVD graphene as a TCF material
  • 3.49. Doping as a strategy for improving graphene TCF performance
  • 3.50. Be wary of extraordinary results
  • 3.51. Graphene TCFs are flexible
  • 3.52. SWOT analysis on graphene TCFs
  • 3.53. Key players
  • 3.54. PEDOT:PSS
  • 3.55. Patterning PEDOT:PSS
  • 3.56. Performance of PEDOT:PSS has drastically improved
  • 3.57. PEDOT:PSS is now on a par with ITO-on-PET
  • 3.58. PEDOT:PSS is mechanically flexible
  • 3.59. PEDOT:PSS is stretchable and can be thermoformed
  • 3.60. Stability and spatial uniformity of PEDOT:PSS
  • 3.61. Use case examples of PEDOT:PSS TCFs
  • 3.62. Key players
  • 3.63. PEDOT TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
  • 3.64. PEDOT TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
  • 3.65. Metal mesh
  • 3.66. Directly printed metal mesh TCFs are low resistance
  • 3.67. Printed metal mesh suffers from visible tracks
  • 3.68. Printed metal mesh suffers from visible tracks
  • 3.69. SWOT analysis on directly printed metal mesh TCFs
  • 3.70. Key players
  • 3.71. Embossing/Imprinting metal mesh TCFs
  • 3.72. Uni-Pixel's metal mesh performance
  • 3.73. O-Film's metal mesh TCF technology
  • 3.74. MNTech's metal mesh TCF technology
  • 3.75. Metal mesh TCF is flexible
  • 3.76. Cost breakdown of metal mesh and yield
  • 3.77. Market share of leading suppliers in metal mesh
  • 3.78. SWOT analysis on embossed metal mesh TCFs
  • 3.79. Key players
  • 3.80. Fujifilm's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
  • 3.81. Conductive Inkjet Technology's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
  • 3.82. 3M's photo-patterned metal mesh TCF
  • 3.83. Rolith's novel photo patterning technique
  • 3.84. SWOT analysis on photo patterned metal mesh TCFs
  • 3.85. Key players
  • 3.86. Which companies uses what metal mesh technology?
  • 3.87. Metal mesh TCF market forecast in km sqr split by application
  • 3.88. Metal mesh TCF ten-year market forecast split by application
  • 3.89. Micro fine wire TCF technology
  • 3.90. SWOT analysis on micro wire TCFs
  • 3.91. SWOT analysis on micro wire TCFs
  • 3.92. Key players
  • 3.93. CimaTech's self-assembled nanoparticle technology
  • 3.94. Examples of Cima Nanotech's technology
  • 3.95. Examples of Cima Nanotech's technology
  • 3.96. ClearJet's inkjet printed nanoparticle-based TCFs
  • 3.97. Technology comparison


  • 4.1. Smart phone shipment units
  • 4.2. Different touch solutions in the market
  • 4.3. Smart phones have been growing in size
  • 4.4. Growth in smart phones to come in the low-cost brackets
  • 4.5. Smart phone market is highly diverse and fragmented
  • 4.6. Chinese brands are stealing market share in China
  • 4.7. TCF market share by technology in smart phones
  • 4.8. TCF market forecast in smart phones
  • 4.9. Tablet sales are set to grow
  • 4.10. TCF market share by technology in the tablets
  • 4.11. TCF market forecast in tablets
  • 4.12. Touch notebook sales
  • 4.13. TCF market share by technology in touch notebooks
  • 4.14. TCF market forecast in touch notebooks
  • 4.15. Touch monitors underwhelm
  • 4.16. TCF market share by technology in touch PC monitors
  • 4.17. TCF market forecast in touch PC monitors
  • 4.18. OLED lighting market
  • 4.19. Latest OLED lighting market announcements
  • 4.20. Integrated substrates for OLED lighting
  • 4.21. TCF market share by technology in OLED lighting
  • 4.22. TCF market forecast in OLED lighting
  • 4.23. Market Forecast for Organic photovoltaics
  • 4.24. Latest news on organic photovoltaics
  • 4.25. TCF market share by technology in OPVs
  • 4.26. TCF market forecast in OPVs
  • 4.27. OLED Displays: Beginning of a 3rd wave
  • 4.28. Latest progress in flexible OLED displays
  • 4.29. Products launched in September 2014
  • 4.30. Segmented market forecast for flexible OLED displays
  • 4.31. OLED display revenue by technology
  • 4.32. Smart window production capacity by technology & player
  • 4.33. Smart window market projection


  • 5.1. Arkema, France
  • 5.2. Blue Nano, USA
  • 5.3. Bluestone Global Tech, USA
  • 5.4. C3Nano
  • 5.5. Cambrios, USA
  • 5.6. Canatu, Finland
  • 5.7. Carestream Advanced Materials, USA
  • 5.8. Cima Nanotech, USA
  • 5.9. ClearJet, Israel
  • 5.10. Dai Nippon Printing, Japan
  • 5.11. Displax Interactive Systems, Portugal
  • 5.12. Epigem Ltd
  • 5.13. Goss International Americas, USA
  • 5.14. Graphene Frontiers
  • 5.15. Graphene Laboratories, USA
  • 5.16. Graphene Square
  • 5.17. Graphenea
  • 5.18. Haydale Ltd
  • 5.19. Heraeus, Germany
  • 5.20. Nanogap, Spain
  • 5.21. NanoIntegris
  • 5.22. Nanomade
  • 5.23. Neonode
  • 5.24. OCSiAl
  • 5.25. O-Film, China
  • 5.26. PolyIC, Germany
  • 5.27. Poly-Ink, France
  • 5.28. Promethean Particles
  • 5.29. Rolith, USA
  • 5.30. Seashell Technology, USA
  • 5.31. Showa Denko, Japan
  • 5.32. Showa Denko K.K
  • 5.33. Sinovia Technologies, USA
  • 5.34. SouthWest NanoTechnologies, USA
  • 5.35. UniPixel, USA
  • 5.36. University of Exeter, UK
  • 5.37. Visual Planet, UK
  • 5.38. Wuxi Graphene Film
  • 5.39. XinNano Materials, Taiwan
  • 5.40. Zytronic, UK
  • 5.41. Zyvex


  • 6.1. Agfa-Gevaert, Belgium
  • 6.2. 3M, USA
  • 6.3. Atmel, USA
  • 6.4. C3Nano, USA
  • 6.5. Chasm Technologies, USA
  • 6.6. Cheil Industries, South Korea
  • 6.7. Chimei Innolux, Taiwan
  • 6.8. Chisso Corp., Japan
  • 6.9. Conductive Inkjet Technologies (Carlco), USA
  • 6.10. Dontech Inc., USA
  • 6.11. Duke University, USA
  • 6.12. Eastman Kodak, USA
  • 6.13. Eikos, USA
  • 6.14. ELK, South Korea
  • 6.15. Evaporated Coatings Inc., USA
  • 6.16. Evonik, Germany
  • 6.17. Fujifilm Ltd, Japan
  • 6.18. Fujitsu, Japan
  • 6.19. Gunze Ltd, Japan
  • 6.20. Hitachi Chemical, Japan
  • 6.21. Holst Center, Netherlands
  • 6.22. Iljin Display, South Korea
  • 6.23. Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), Singapore
  • 6.24. Join Well Technology Company Ltd., Taiwan
  • 6.25. J-Touch, Taiwan
  • 6.26. KAIST, South Korea
  • 6.27. Komoro, Japan
  • 6.28. KPT Shanghai Keyan Phosphor Technology Co. Ltd., China
  • 6.29. Lee Tat Industrial Development (LTI) Ltd, Hong Kong
  • 6.30. LG Chem, South Korea
  • 6.31. Maxfilm, South Koera
  • 6.32. Mianyang Prochema Plastics Co., Ltd., China
  • 6.33. Mirae/MNTec, South Korea
  • 6.34. Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Mitsui Ltd., Japan
  • 6.35. Mutto Optronics, China
  • 6.36. Nagase Corporation, Japan
  • 6.37. Nanopyxis, South Korea
  • 6.38. National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), Japan
  • 6.39. National University of Singapore (NUS), Singapore
  • 6.40. Nicanti, Finland
  • 6.41. Nitto Denko, Japan
  • 6.42. Oike & CO., Ltd., Japan
  • 6.43. Oji Paper Group, Japan
  • 6.44. Panipol Ltd., Finland
  • 6.45. Perceptive Pixel, USA
  • 6.46. Polychem UV/EB, Taiwan
  • 6.47. Power Booster, China
  • 6.48. Rice University, USA
  • 6.49. Samsung Electronics, South Korea
  • 6.50. Sang Bo Corporation (SBK), South Korea
  • 6.51. Sekisui Nano Coat Technology Ltd., Japan
  • 6.52. Sheldahl, USA
  • 6.53. Sigma-Aldrich, USA
  • 6.54. Sony Corporation, Japan
  • 6.55. Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Inc., Japan
  • 6.56. Suzutora, Japan
  • 6.57. TDK, Japan
  • 6.58. Teijin Kasei America, Inc. / Teijin Chemical, USA
  • 6.59. Top Nanosys, South Korea
  • 6.60. Toray Advanced Film (TAF), Japan
  • 6.61. Toyobo, Japan
  • 6.62. UCLA, USA
  • 6.63. Unidym, USA
  • 6.64. University of Michigan, USA
  • 6.65. VisionTek Systems Ltd., UK
  • 6.66. Young Fast Optoelectronics, Taiwan


  • 6.1. Typical properties on PET with bar coater
  • 6.2. Key performance data characteristics 3M's metal mesh TCFs
  • 6.3. Yielded cost per unit area of TCF for touch panel applications
  • 6.4. Tiny copper wires can be built in bulk and then "printed" on a surface to conduct current, transparently.
  • 6.5. Eastman Kodak HCF Film
  • 6.6. Opportunity for PEDOT in the Display industry
  • 6.7. Performance of PEDOT formulation from Eastman Kodak versus ITO
  • 6.8. CNT Ink Production Process
  • 6.9. Target application areas of Eikos
  • 6.10. Transmittance (%) as a function of wavelength (nm) for organic conductive polymers and ITO.
  • 6.11. Comparison of organic conductive polymers and configuration of the developed organic conductive polymer film
  • 6.12. Gunze's flexible display, presented early 2009
  • 6.13. Picture and pattern of transparent thermally conductive film
  • 6.14. Efficiency of TCF vs cell size
  • 6.15. Indium migration vs other TCFs
  • 6.16. A schematic giving insight into MNTech's manufacturing process and a table outlining performance levels
  • 6.17. Ga:ZnO films on a glass panel with the inventors and scanning electron images of 3D transparent conducting electrodes
  • 6.18. The owners of Nicanti
  • 6.19. Nicanti Printaf project
  • 6.20. Transparent conductive film - ELECRYSTA
  • 6.21. Sales and operating profits for Nitto Denko
  • 6.22. Nitto Denko's product offerings for displays including ITO film
  • 6.23. Transparent conductive film using organic semiconductors
  • 6.24. TCF solutions from Panipol
  • 6.25. Polychem PEDOT Polymer Coating
  • 6.26. Patterned Sample by the New Technology
  • 6.27. JEFF FITLOW -Yu Zhu, a postdoctoral researcher at Rice University, holds a sample of a transparent electrode that merges graphene and a fine aluminum grid
  • 6.28. A hybrid material that combines a fine aluminum mesh with a single-atom-thick layer of graphene
  • 6.29. An electron microscope image of a hybrid electrode developed at Rice University
  • 6.30. Roll-to-roll CVD production of very large-sized flexible graphene films
  • 6.31. ITO-on-PET film stack
  • 6.32. FLECLEAR structure
  • 6.33. Teijin's ELECLEAR ITO film
  • 6.34. New metal grid TCF technology developed by Toray
  • 6.35. Etched metal mesh TCF technology developed by Toray
  • 6.36. CNT TCF technology developed by Toray
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