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Transparent Conductive Films and Sensors Are Hot Segments in Printed Electronics

April 16, 2014

Start-ups show above-average momentum, while companies working on emissive displays such as OLED are fading, Lux Research says

BOSTON, MA –Transparent conductive films (TCFs) – used in touchscreens – and sensors are currently the hottest sectors in printed, flexible and organic electronics, based on an analysis of start-up companies' performance, according to Lux Research.

Its analysts looked at six years of data from the Lux Research Member Site, where companies are evaluated annually on 10 different metrics. The study found that companies with high "momentum" score – a benchmark gauging commercial progress – clustered in certain technology areas.

“TCFs and sensors stand out from the crowd, taking different paths to get there,” said Jonathan Melnick, Lux Research Senior Analyst and the lead author of the report titled, “What’s Hot and Timing Moves in Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics.”

“The steady upward climb in TCFs has come as materials from Cambrios make their way into products like LG’s all-in-one PC,” he added. "Sensor companies' performance has been more volatile but has been on a strong upswing for two years as interest grows in applications like smart packaging and the Internet of Things."

Lux Research's study also found:

• Thin-film batteries, reflective displays and OPV rate below average. Among the seven technology categories Lux studied, these areas have below-average momentum scores. Thin-film batteries' market adoption has lagged; organic photovoltaics have been very slow to mature.
• Emissive displays continue slide. Sensors saw the sharpest uptick in momentum with a 2013, while emissive displays fell the furthest, as innovations in solution-processing for OLED has been slow to take off.
• High-revenue TCF developers meet certain technical specs. Lux Research also compared start-ups' revenue growth to their technical performance, and found that in maturing areas, high-growth companies had products with similar technical performance. For instance, the top TCF companies had films with sheet resistance below 25 Ω/sq – a measure of their high electrical conductivity.

The report, titled “What’s Hot and Timing Moves in Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics,” is part of the Lux Research Printed, Flexible, and Organic Electronics Intelligence service.

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