Transparent conductors, ITO and alternatives

February 16, 2011 — Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets issued a report, "The Business Case for Indium Tin Oxide and Alternative Transparent Conductors," that addresses the viability of transparent conductor alternatives to indium tin oxide (ITO). NanoMarkets pegs the total transparent conductor market at slightly over $3 billion (USD) in revenues in 2011 and growing to over $10 billion in 2018. The market for alternatives to ITO will be worth almost $1.9 billion at that same time.

NanoMarkets’ new report notes that while materials costs are obviously crucially important to commoditized markets such as photovoltaics (PV) and displays, simply reducing BOM costs will not be enough of an impetus for display and other manufacturers to switch from ITO to alternative transparent conductors.

In this report, NanoMarkets examines the business case for using alternative transparent conductors in key applications including displays, lighting and photovoltaics. The materials considered are other TCOs, conductive polymers, nanosilver coatings, and nanocarbon coatings.

The report looks at the current and future performance factors of the major alternatives to ITO and compares them in quantitative terms to ITO then considers how these comparisons are likely to change over time, especially given the early technology stage, which is where transparent conducting nanomaterials currently reside. The principal factors include transparency, conductivity, flexibility/resiliency and cost in addition to other factors.

It also reviews the business cases that have been made in all the applications areas in which transparent conductors are used and how these are likely to evolve over the next few years as materials and end-user technologies change. In particular, NanoMarkets looks at how the arrival of next-generation displays, solid-state lighting and new types of solar panels are shifting the balance against ITO. The relative advantages of the various transparent conductors being offered are translated into cost savings and money making opportunities in each of the applications areas being considered.

"The Business Case for Indium Tin Oxide and Alternative Transparent Conductors" is the latest report from NanoMarkets that addresses the market opportunities within transparent conductors, both ITO and alternatives. The NanoMarkets report is part of its recent analyses of transparent conductor market opportunities in photovoltaics, displays, and OLEDs.

NanoMarkets tracks and analyzes emerging market opportunities in energy and electronics markets created by developments in advanced materials. Additional details are available at www.nanomarkets.net

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