The market for displays used in smartphones, tablets and TV's will be the first to benefit from printed electronics, enabling the manufacture of radical new form-factors driven by the need for rugged, ultra-thin and lightweight product which will lead ultimately to fully flexible and rollable displays.
In the meantime the overall market for printed electronics is set for rapid growth over the next 5 years with current estimates of $10 billion for 2013 and a global market expected to reach $45 billion by 2018.
This growth will be driven by the adoption of flexible substrates and solution based semiconductors. This offers manufacturers the possibility of low-cost solution printing (slot-die, ink jet and roll to roll) of full-feature flexible electronics at room temperature.
These opportunities for printed and organic electronics include;
Organic Thin Film Transistors (OTFT) backplanes for EPD, OLED and LCD displays
Printed RFID for brand protection, logistics and NFC
Organic memory devices for consumer goods
Organic sensors for single use devices
The most significant area of opportunity for Smartkem is the manufacture of OTFT backplanes for rugged and flexible next generation displays. Smartkem’s new class of high performance OSC materials offer, for the first time, the required backplane drive performance for a range of display frontplanes such as OLED, LCD and e-paper whilst offering manufacturers a low temperature, repeatable manufacturing processes
Display manufacturers such as Panasonic, LG, Sony and Samsung have stated their intent to move to printed OTFT backplanes and make the transition to lower cost and conformal displays.