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Inking Money: The Prospects for Materials in Printed Electronics

Printed electronics promises the ability to manufacture devices through low-cost, high-throughput manufacturing. However, to realize this potential, it requires the right materials and inks. We focus on three materials areas - opaque conductive inks and pastes, transparent conductors, and semiconductors, presenting a total opportunity of $2.6 billion in 2017. Opaque conductive inks will grow to $2.4 billion in 2017, with medical and RFID among the fastest-growing segments. However, silver paste will still dominate, and other materials will only find traction in solar applications. ITO replacement transparent conductive films will grow to $705 million, with $112 million coming from the inks, but the majority of this market will come from a single application, smartphone touch screens, leading to a wide range of potential growth scenarios. Printed semiconductors will grow to $68 million in 2017 with display applications leading the way.

Table of Contents

  • Executive Summary
  • Landscape
    • Novel Materials Underlie the Emergence of Printed Electronics
    • Emerging Technologies Chase Silver in Opaque Conductive Inks and Pastes
      • Silver has Appealing Electrical and Chemical Properties, but Presents Cost Challenges
      • Silver-Coated Copper Looks to Take Advantage of the Properties of Both Materials
      • Nanoparticle Formulations Look to Reduce Silver Loading and Enable New Processing
      • Copper Reduction Inks Produce Metallic Traces
    • Conductive Inks Have Their Traditional Markets and Look to Push in New Ones
      • Conductive Inks Lurk Below the Surface in Many Products
      • Disposable Medical Products Need Silver Inks for Reliability
      • Printed Components Look to Displace Copper in PCBs and RFIDs
      • Automobiles Use Conductive Inks in Many Places
    • Transparent Conductors Chase ITO
      • Material and Mechanical Limitations Present an Opening for Replacements
      • Silver Nanowire and Nanoparticle Solutions Lead in the Replacement Space
    • Transparent Conductive Films are Found in Three Markets
    • Applications Dictate Semiconducting Material Sets
    • Landscape Conclusions
  • Analysis
    • Emerging Materials Need to Demonstrate a Clear Advantage
    • Opaque Conductive Pastes and Inks will be Nearly $2.5 billion in 2017
      • Solar Dominates Alternatives, with Minimal Adoption Elsewhere
      • Conductive Inks will be a Market between $2 Billion and $3 Billion in 2017
    • ITO Replacement Films will Surpass $700 Million; Materials Account for $112 Million
    • Semiconducting Inks will Mostly be in Displays
  • Outlook
  • About Lux Research
  • Endnotes
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