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Printed and Thin Film Transistors (TFT) and Memory 2013-2023: Forecasts, Technologies, Players

Printed and thin film transistor circuits will become a $180 million market in 10 years, from just $3 million in 2013. They will drive lighting, displays, signage, electronic products, medical disposables, smart packaging, smart labels and much more besides. The chemical, plastics, printing, electronics and other industries are cooperating to make it happen. Already, over 500 organizations are developing printed transistors and memory, with first products being sold commercially in 2009.

The growth over the longer timescale, from 2013-2033, will be very similar to the early growth of the silicon chip market in the same interval. In other words, the twenty years from 1978 to 1998 saw a similar starting and finishing value of sales of silicon chips. History is repeating itself with the printed equivalent over the next twenty years, though not by taking much market share from silicon chips in the first fifteen years. Do not follow the herd into the well aired aspects of this subject. Gain advantage by understanding all the important aspects and opportunities.

Who should read this report

This report addresses two types of reader. Industrialists, investors and researchers with scientific training can read the report in the order presented. For the first time, they will see the big picture of what is happening and about to happen across the whole world in this subject. This includes the profiles, activities and intentions of 150 leading organizations in this field. We analyze and compare what is happening in 16 countries. Such information is not gathered in any other document. The report also gives the rapidly evolving choices of materials, device designs, chemistry and manufacturing processes for these devices - again a unique analysis. However, this report will also be useful for those with only a rudimentary understanding of science and engineering who seek to understand how the printed electronics revolution will greatly benefit society while creating billion dollar businesses and when and where this will happen.

We start with some descriptions appropriate for the beginner, opening up the subject with as little complexity and jargon as possible.

Forecasts and applications

The report assesses the market and opportunity in different ways, such as forecasts by material type (organic vs inorganic), application (Display driver, RFID etc), flexible, printed and much more. However, the immediately accessible markets for printed transistors are commonly described as being back plane drivers for displays and use in RFID but that is misleading. We give the big picture - something not previously available - and also look at the impediments to successful commercialization of these components, in an honest and balanced appraisal. Forecasts are given for the next ten years and beyond.

All the chemistries, geometries and processes

We cover the big picture - the full range of organic and inorganic chemistries that can be printed or thin film. Technical progress, companies and impediments are given, and their applications appraised. Whether you intend to be a user, seller or researcher, consider the new InGaZnO semiconductors, the single layer geometry, the multi-function transistors, the printed silicon transistors and many other advances.

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Progress by territory

Understand the enormous amount of work going on in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the USA, Germany and the UK. See why no printing technology is ideal and what comes next. Although the press talks of transistors only working at the lower frequencies and modest memory capability in printed form, some of these devices work at terahertz frequency and some promise a gigabyte on a postage stamp for only a few cents and progress with ISO-capable printed RFID tags.

There is much more to printed electronics than commonly appears in press reports and research papers. This is a huge revolution impacting most aspects of human endeavor. Billion dollar suppliers will be created and even the smallest organizations involved are already signing deals with some of the largest - there is room for everyone.

Those thinking that this is all about organic electronics are boxing themselves into a corner. Those that think that printed transistors and memory are being developed by the few companies often mentioned in the press are missing the work at over 150 organizations, most of it very exciting indeed.

Table of Contents

1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

2. INTRODUCTION

  • 2.1. Importance of printed and potentially printed electronics
    • 2.1.1. Awesome new capability creates new markets
    • 2.1.2. This is the new printing before it is the new electronics
    • 2.1.3. Importance of flexibility, light weight and low cost
    • 2.1.4. Creating radically new products
    • 2.1.5. Improving existing products
  • 2.2. How printed electronics is being applied
  • 2.3. Importance of printed and thin film transistors and memory
    • 2.3.1. Vision for the future
    • 2.3.2. Benefits of thin film transistors and memory
  • 2.4. Transistor basics and value chain
    • 2.4.1. How a transistor works
    • 2.4.2. TFTC value chain
  • 2.5. Transistor geometry and parameters
    • 2.5.1. Conventional geometry - horizontal transistors
    • 2.5.2. New vertical geometry - vertical VFETs
    • 2.5.3. New geometry - single layer transistors PragmatIC
    • 2.5.4. On off ratio and leakage current
    • 2.5.5. Frequency, carrier mobility and channel length
  • 2.6. Choice of materials for these transistors
    • 2.6.1. The thin film transistors on the back of today's LCD TV - a dead end?
    • 2.6.2. Organic vs inorganic materials
  • 2.7. Choice of semiconductor
    • 2.7.1. Organic semiconductors
    • 2.7.2. Crystalline Silicon is a dead end?
    • 2.7.3. Compound inorganic semiconductors
    • 2.7.4. Breakthrough in printed inorganic performance in from Kovio
    • 2.7.5. CMOS and the n type difficulty
    • 2.7.6. Ambipolar semiconductors
    • 2.7.7. Carbon nanotubes as thin film semiconductors
    • 2.7.8. Importance of the dielectric layer
    • 2.7.9. Importance of codeposition
    • 2.7.10. Memory basics and value chain
  • 2.8. Substrates
    • 2.8.1. High temperature and protective substrates vs low cost flexible
    • 2.8.2. Polymers
    • 2.8.3. Paper
  • 2.9. Printing processes
    • 2.9.1. Requirements
    • 2.9.2. Ink jet vs fast reel to reel printing
    • 2.9.3. Transfer printing of single crystals
    • 2.9.4. 3D printed silicon transistors, Japan

3. ORGANIC TRANSISTORS AND MEMORY - DEVELOPMENTS

  • 3.1. History and prospective benefits
  • 3.2. RFID labels at Holst Centre
  • 3.3. RFID labels from Poly IC
  • 3.4. Lowest performance, lowest cost - ACREO
  • 3.5. Organic dielectrics and ferroelectrics
  • 3.6. High permittivity organic transistor gates by ionic drift
  • 3.7. Summary

4. INORGANIC COMPOUND TRANSISTORS - DEVELOPMENTS

  • 4.1. History and summary of potential benefits
  • 4.2. Semiconductors
    • 4.2.1. Zinc oxide based transistor semiconductors
    • 4.2.2. Amorphous InGaZnO
    • 4.2.3. Progress towards p-type metal oxide semiconductors
    • 4.2.4. Transfer printing silicon, GaN and GaAs on film
    • 4.2.5. Tin disulphide
  • 4.3. Inorganic dielectrics in devices
    • 4.3.1. Solution processed barium titanate nanocomposite
    • 4.3.2. Hafnium oxide and HafSOx
    • 4.3.3. Hybrid inorganic dielectrics - zirconia
    • 4.3.4. Aluminium, lanthanum, tantalum and other oxides
    • 4.3.5. Arizona State University's Flexible Display Center (FDC) and the University of Texas at Dallas
  • 4.4. Chromium based technology
    • 4.4.1. Printed oxide transistors at Oregon State University
    • 4.5. Silicon nanoparticle ink
  • 4.5.1. Kovio
  • 4.6. Printing aSi reel to reel
  • 4.7. High-Mobility Ambipolar Organic-Inorganic Hybrid Transistors
  • 4.8. Research on molybdenmnite at EPFL Lausanne
  • 4.9. Do organic transistors have a future?
  • 4.10. Summary of latest work
    • 4.10.1. Oxide Semiconductors
    • 4.10.2. Carbon Nanotube
    • 4.10.3. Others

5. TECHNOLOGY AND SUPPLIERS - LARGE MEMORY

  • 5.1. Types of memory
  • 5.2. Big difference in making small vs large memory
  • 5.3. Strategy of various developers of thin film and printed memory
    • 5.3.1. Thin Film Electronics TFE memory

6. TECHNOLOGY AND SUPPLIERS -CONDUCTORS

  • 6.1. Organic vs inorganic conductors
  • 6.2. Organic conductors
  • 6.3. Inorganic conductors
    • 6.3.1. Comparison of metal options
    • 6.3.2. Polymer - metal suspensions
    • 6.3.3. Silver solution
  • 6.4. Progress with new conductive ink chemistries and cure processes
    • 6.4.1. Particle-free silver inks
    • 6.4.2. Graphene hybrid technology
  • 6.5. Pre-Deposit Images in Metal PDIM
  • 6.6. Carbon nanotubes
  • 6.7. Carbon Nanotubes and printed electronics
  • 6.8. Developers of Carbon Nanotubes for Printed Electronics

7. MARKETS 2013-2023

  • 7.1. Market Background
  • 7.2. Forecasts 2013-2023
  • 7.3. Options
  • 7.4. Split between backplane, RFID and other applications to 2022
  • 7.5. Size of relevant markets that are impacted
  • 7.6. Potential for non-RFID electronic labels
  • 7.7. Potential for RFID labels 2013-2023
  • 7.8. Market for RFID
    • 7.8.1. Ultimate potential for highest volume RFID
    • 7.8.2. Penetration of chipless RFID
  • 7.9. Impact on silicon
  • 7.10. Forecasts for materials
  • 7.11. Backplane transistor arrays hold up AMOLED market penetration
  • 7.12. Impediments to the commercialisation of printed transistors and memory

8. COMPARISON OF ORGANISATIONS INVOLVED IN TFTCS AND THEIR MATERIALS

  • 8.1. Semiconductor, process, geometry, targets, challenges and objectives for 80 organisations in printed and thin film transistors and/ or memory
  • 8.2. Profiles of 45 organisations in printed and thin film transistors and/ or memory
    • 8.2.1. ACREO
    • 8.2.2. AU Optoelectronics
    • 8.2.3. BASF
    • 8.2.4. Canon
    • 8.2.5. CEA Liten
    • 8.2.6. DaiNippon Printing
    • 8.2.7. Dow Chemical
    • 8.2.8. Ecole Superiure des Mines Saint Etienne
    • 8.2.9. ETRI (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute)
    • 8.2.10. Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems
    • 8.2.11. Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration
    • 8.2.12. Fujitsu
    • 8.2.13. Heraeus (formerly H.C.Starck)
    • 8.2.14. Hewlett Packard
    • 8.2.15. Hitachi
    • 8.2.16. Impika
    • 8.2.17. Industrial Technology Research Institute
    • 8.2.18. Institute of Microelectronics
    • 8.2.19. International University of Bremen
    • 8.2.20. Japan Science and Technology Agency
    • 8.2.21. Korea Electronics Technology Institute
    • 8.2.22. Korea Institute of Science and Technology
    • 8.2.23. Kovio
    • 8.2.24. Kyung Hee University
    • 8.2.25. Matsushita
    • 8.2.26. Merck Chemicals
    • 8.2.27. NHK
    • 8.2.28. Oregon State University
    • 8.2.29. Palo Alto Research Center
    • 8.2.30. Paru
    • 8.2.31. Plastic Logic
    • 8.2.32. Poly IC
    • 8.2.33. PragmatIC Printing
    • 8.2.34. Samsung
    • 8.2.35. Semiconductor Energy Laboratory
    • 8.2.36. Sony
    • 8.2.37. Sunchon National University
    • 8.2.38. Thinfilm
    • 8.2.39. Tohoku University
    • 8.2.40. Tokyo Institute of Technology
    • 8.2.41. Toppan Printing
    • 8.2.42. University of California Los Angeles
    • 8.2.43. University of Cambridge
    • 8.2.44. University of Tokyo
    • 8.2.45. Xerox

APPENDIX 1: IDTECHEX PUBLICATIONS AND CONSULTANCY

TABLES

  • 1.1. Territorial distribution of 150 organisations examined in this report
  • 1.2. Global market for printed and potentially printed electronics logic and memory 2013-2023 in billions of dollars, with the percentage that will be printed and the percentage that will be flexible
  • 1.3. Total market value of printed versus non printed electronics 2013-2023 US$ billion
  • 1.4. Total market value of flexible vs. rigid electronics 2013-2023
  • 1.5. Advantages of printed and thin film transistors and memory vs traditional silicon
  • 1.6. Comparison of some of the main options for the semiconductors in printed and potentially printed transistors
  • 1.7. Benefits and challenges of horizontal printed FETs vs printed VFETs vs single layer FETs
  • 1.8. Objectives and challenges of organisations developing printed and potentially printed transistor and/ or memory circuits and/or their materials
  • 1.9. Some organisations that are developing TFTCs and their materials and their priorities for products they will sell that employ that technology
  • 2.1. Envisaged benefits of TFTCs in RFID and other low-cost applications when compared with envisaged silicon chips
  • 2.2. Comparison of some of the main options for the semiconductors in printed and potentially printed transistors
  • 2.3. Properties of the Polyera/ BASF n type printing ink for organic field effect transistors consisting of N,N Dioctyl-dicyanoperylene-3,4:9,10-bis(dicarboxyamide), PD18-CN2
  • 3.1. Printable polymer transistor dielectric PE-DI-1900 from BASF and Polyera
  • 4.1. A summary of the promised benefits of polymer ink used in pilot production of organic transistors vs two thin film inorganic semiconductors for transistors vs nanosilicon ink
  • 4.2. Some properties of new thin film dielectrics
  • 4.3. Benefits and challenges of R2R
  • 4.4. Imprint lithography
  • 5.1. Some of the small group of contestants for large capacity printed memory
  • 6.1. Benefits and challenges of organic vs inorganic conductors for printed and thin film transistors, memory and their interconnects.
  • 6.2. Conductance in ohms per square for the different printable conductive materials compared with bulk metal
  • 6.3. Examples of ink suppliers progressing printed RFID antennas etc
  • 6.4. Some companies progressing ink jettable conductors
  • 6.5. Comparison of metal etch (e.g. copper and aluminium) conductor choices
  • 6.6. Electroless metal plate - Additive print process with weakly conductive ink (e.g. plastics or carbon) followed by wet metal plating
  • 6.7. Electro metal plate - Additive print process with weakly conductive ink (e.g. plastics or carbon) followed by dry metal plating
  • 6.8. Printable metallic conductors cure at LT e.g. silver based ink
  • 6.9. A typical process cost comparison for RFID antennas
  • 6.10. Possibilities for various new printed conductors.
  • 6.11. Charge carrier mobility of carbon nanotubes compared with alternatives
  • 6.12. Developers of Carbon Nanotubes for Printed Electronics
  • 7.1. Global market for printed and potentially printed electronics logic and memory 2013-2023 in billions of dollars, with the percentage that will be printed and the percentage that will be flexible
  • 7.2. Total market value of printed versus non printed electronics 2013-2023 US$ billion
  • 7.3. Total market value of flexible vs. rigid electronics 2013-2023
  • 7.4. Global electronics industry by application
  • 7.5. End user markets relevant to printed electronics
  • 7.6. Statistics for electronic labels and their potential locations
  • 7.7. Number (in millions) of passive tags by application 2011-2021
  • 7.8. Value of passive tags by application 2011-2021 (US Dollar Millions)
  • 7.9. Choices of digital chipless RFID technologies
  • 7.10. Chipless versus Chip RFID, in numbers of units (billions) 2011-2021 (includes passive and active RFID)
  • 7.11. Market size of a variety of chipless solutions, US$ millions
  • 7.12. Scope for printed TFTCs to create new markets or replace silicon chips
  • 7.13. Spend on organic versus inorganic materials 2013-2023 US$ Billion
  • 7.14. Printed electronics materials and other elements of device income 2013-2023 in billions of dollars
  • 8.1. Objectives and challenges of 80 organisations developing printed and potentially printed transistor and/ or memory circuits and/or their materials
  • 8.2. Objectives and challenges of 23 organizations developing inks and their materials for printed and potentially printed transistors and memory
  • 8.3. Some organisations that are developing TFTCs and their materials and their priorities for products they will sell that employ that technology

FIGURES

  • 1.1. Territorial distribution of 150 organisations examined in this report
  • 1.2. Total market value of printed versus non printed electronics 2013-2023 US$ billion
  • 1.3. Total market value of flexible vs. rigid electronics 2013-2023
  • 1.4. Sales of printed and potentially printed transistors and memory by application in 2013
  • 1.5. Sales of printed and potentially printed transistors and memory by application in 2023
  • 1.6. Prototype 13.56 MHz RFID smart labels from reel to reel production of organic TFTCs by PolyIC
  • 1.7. Some of the current options for printed transistors by frequency
  • 2.1. Growth in sales of silicon chips by value compared with growth in sales of printed and thin film electronic components
  • 2.2. Examples of the radically new capabilities of printed electronics
  • 2.3. Types of early win and longer term project involving printed electronics 1995-2025
  • 2.4. Logic circuits printed by PolyIC in Germany using a reel to reel process
  • 2.5. How printed electronics is being applied to products
  • 2.6. Printed Electronics Applications
  • 2.7. Plastic film scanner
  • 2.8. The value chain for manufacturing of printed electronics
  • 2.9. Value chain for TFTCs and examples of migration of activity for players
  • 2.10. Traditional geometry for a field effect transistor
  • 2.11. Vertical organic field effect transistor VOFET showing a short channel length and a large cross section for current flow. The substrate is shown at the bottom.
  • 2.12. ORFID view of the problems of the traditional horizontal transistor
  • 2.13. Examples of vertical transistors
  • 2.14. ORFID VOFET approach
  • 2.15. The PragmatIC process
  • 2.16. Structure of SSD diode and device operation
  • 2.17. Principle of self aligned printing by Plastic Logic
  • 2.18. Prevalence of organic vs inorganic materials in printed and thin film electronics today
  • 2.19. Semiconductor options
  • 2.20. PEDOT:PSS
  • 2.21. Motorola summary of thin film FET issues concerning the dielectric layer .
  • 2.22. Motorola view of available gate materials
  • 2.23. The simple capacitor like structure for many printed devices including memory
  • 2.24. Choices of substrate for printed electronics
  • 2.25. Change in stiffness of PET vs PEN substrate material with temperature.
  • 2.26. Biaxially oriented crystalline film
  • 2.27. Factors influencing film choice- property set
  • 2.28. Some candidate materials for flexible substrates
  • 2.29. Requirements in printing thin film transistors
  • 2.30. The big picture for printing transistors and memory in ever increasing numbers
  • 2.31. Reel to reel printing of transistors and complete RFID labels by Poly IC
  • 2.32. Options for high speed, low-cost printing of TFTCs
  • 2.33. Choice of printing technology for silver RFID antennas today, where Omron and Avery Dennison use gravure despite volumes being no more than hundreds of millions.
  • 2.34. Performance improvement in thermal ink jet over the years.
  • 2.35. Benefits of ink jet printing of electronics
  • 2.36. Thermal ink jet printed transistor evolution
  • 2.37. Hybrid process improves performance
  • 2.38. Transfer printed GaAs FETs on PET
  • 2.39. Semprius opportunity space
  • 2.40. Seiko Epson 3D printed silicon transistor
  • 3.1. 64-bit organic transponder chip based on dual-gate thin-film-transistor technology, achieving 4.3kb/s data rate.
  • 3.2. Holst Centre's 128 bit RFID transponder on plastic film.
  • 3.3. ACREO technology platform
  • 3.4. Components of the ACREO low functionality approach to transistors
  • 3.5. ACREO electrochemical transistors
  • 3.6. Electrochemical components electrical effects
  • 3.7. ACREO electrochemical transistors
  • 3.8. ACREO objectives for electrochemical transistor circuits
  • 3.9. ACREO electrochemical timer transistor
  • 3.10. ACREO matrix addressed display.
  • 3.11. Interactive games printed on paper
  • 3.12. Concept demonstrator integrating printed electrochemical components and its patented "Dry Phase Patterning" of metal conductors.
  • 3.13. ACREO applicational ideas
  • 3.14. Transistor structure used
  • 3.15. Ion modulation
  • 4.1. Early Hewlett Packard work on ink jet printing of inorganic compound semiconductors
  • 4.2. Printed flexible inorganic semiconductor
  • 4.3. Transparent transistor
  • 4.4. Material choices for transparent transistors
  • 4.5. Amorphous thin film inorganic dielectric
  • 4.6. Example of ZnO based transistor circuit that is transparent.
  • 4.7. Using a nanolaminate as an e-platform
  • 4.8. TEM images of solution processed nanolaminates
  • 4.9. Cross-sectional schematic view of an amorphous oxide TFT
  • 4.10. Transparent and flexible active matrix backplanes fabricated on PEN films
  • 4.11. Semprius transfer printing
  • 4.12. Motorola high permittivity printable OFET dielectric using a barium titanate organic nanocomposite.
  • 4.13. Hybrid organic-inorganic transistor and right dual dielectric transistor
  • 4.14. Motorola high permittivity printable OFET dielectric using a barium titanate organic nanocomposite
  • 4.15. Motorola results - the nanotechnology used
  • 4.16. Lower operating voltage
  • 4.17. NHK transistor on polycarbonate film with tantalum oxide gate.
  • 4.18. Solution-based activities and capabilities
  • 4.19. Printing inorganic films
  • 4.20. Aqueous processing of oxides
  • 4.21. Examples of the challenges
  • 4.22. A typical test transistor with HafSOx dielectric
  • 4.23. Performance of Kovio's ink versus others by mobility
  • 4.24. Road map
  • 4.25. The web rolled on the core is its own clean room
  • 4.26. Basic Imprint Lithography Process
  • 4.27. Molybdenite based transistor geometry
  • 5.1. An all-organic permanent memory transistor
  • 5.2. Thinfilm memory compared with the much more complex DRAM in silicon
  • 5.3. Structure of Thinfilm memory
  • 6.1. InkTec soluble silver inks. Left: Transparent Electronic Ink. Right: Transparent Inkjet Inks
  • 6.2. Patterning using InkTec ink
  • 6.3. Typical SEM images of CU flake C1 6000F. Copper flake
  • 6.4. Properties and morphology of single walled carbon nanotubes
  • 6.5. Nanotube shrink-wrap from Unidym
  • 7.1. Examples of printed electronics creating new products
  • 7.2. Total market value of printed versus non printed electronics 2013-2023 US$ billion
  • 7.3. Total market value of flexible vs. rigid electronics 2013-2023
  • 7.4. Transistors - first significant commercial product in 2011
  • 7.5. Sales of printed and potentially printed transistors and memory by application in 2013
  • 7.6. Sales of printed and potentially printed transistors and memory by application in 2023
  • 7.7. Potential, in billions yearly, for global sales of RFID labels and circuits printed directly onto products or packaging. Item level is shown in red. These are examples.
  • 7.8. Spend on organic versus inorganic materials 2013-2023 US$ Billion
  • 7.9. Printed electronics materials and other elements of device income 2013-2023
  • 7.10. Current options and challenges for backplane TFTs
  • 8.1. Fujitsu "electronic paper" display
  • 8.2. Researchers and users play major roles with active logistic support from JST
  • 8.3. High Mobility OTFT
  • 8.4. Summary and Conclusion
  • 8.5. Materials and devices. Fully printed RFID tag in development.
  • 8.6. Fully printed EAS (anti theft) tag shown on website.
  • 8.7. Prototype HF tag and reader
  • 8.8. Left is diode logic OR gate and the right is a bridge rectifier
  • 8.9. Micrograph of an SSD array and the 110 GHz microwave measurement setup
  • 8.10. A circuit by Associate Professor Zhenan Bao.
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