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Flexible Electronics to Revolutionize Electronic Devices

January 8, 2009

According to Frost & Sullivan, research and development initiatives are boosting technological developments that will have huge implications in terms of design, conceptualization, and cost reductions.


LONDON /PRNewswire/ -- Flexible electronics is set to bring about revolutionary changes in the design and conceptualization of electronics devices in the consumer, medical, and military sectors. The emerging field has demonstrated huge implications in terms of cost reductions, owing to printed manufacturing techniques being developed for volume production.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan titled "Emerging Trends in Flexible Electronics," finds that flexible electronics have seen drastic evolution since the discovery of organic conductive polymers. There still remains a long way to go before sweeping changes impact our day-to-day lives. However, benefits such as light weight, ruggedness, low costs, and possible transparency of electronics, as well as an ease of integration, promise to open the doors for new applications in areas where conventional electronics have not been effective.

"While organic semiconductors used in flexible electronics are not a rival to conventional silicon, they offer new avenues of applications that rigid circuits and electronics have not been able to penetrate, including flexible displays for packaging or defense applications, flexible sensors for portable diagnostics, and flexible RFID tags for brand protection of products," notes Technical Insights Research Analyst Sharmishta S.

The market is witnessing the formation of strategic partnerships between material suppliers, original equipment manufacturers, and R&D institutes to accelerate technology development and build collaborative value chains. However, product commercialization and time to market would depend largely on leveraging the manufacturing strength of Asia.

Collaboration in research has enabled the pooling of resources of companies and research institutes to produce new materials, enhance the performance levels of organic light emitting diodes, and facilitate the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge. The flexible electronics research environment has seen active funding initiatives from governments, defense establishments, investment banks, and large business organizations.

"While there is a continued focus on the development of flexible devices, initiatives have been made to address manufacturing issues within projects funded by the European Commission, for example, as well as initiatives led by the United States Display Consortium in North America," explains Sharmishta. "As the field is nascent, there are still requirements to be satisfied in terms of materials performance, lifetimes, testing, and validation to stand the rigors of continuous use in applications."

The wide spectrum of applications of flexible electronics range from portable military devices to car interiors, where electronics can be integrated into the contours of the application. However, the awareness of the potential of this technology remains dismally low in many segments of the market. Several research programs have been initiated to tackle the challenges in manufacturing, encapsulation, and performance of organic semiconductors, which constitute the very basics of flexible electronics.

Promising manufacturing techniques for different applications include inkjet printing, vacuum deposition, as well as imprint lithography for different applications depending on the resolution, cost, and throughput requirements. Proactive printing companies are widening their horizons and expanding their business to incorporate printing electronics on flexible substrates. Overall, the prospects for the flexible electronics market look optimistic, and the field is open to advancement from all quarters.

"Emerging Trends in Flexible Electronics," a part of the Technical Insights subscription, covers the latest trends and achievements in R&D in the flexible electronics field, including developments in RFID, flexible displays, batteries, and manufacturing techniques, such as roll-to-roll processing for the production of flexible devices. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends, evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants. Interviews with the press are available.

If you are interested in an analysis that provides manufacturers, end users, and other industry participants with an overview, summary, challenges, and latest coverage of the flexible electronics industry, send an email to Joanna Lewandowska, Corporate Communications, at joanna.lewandowska@frost.com, with your full name, company name, title, telephone number, company email address, company Web site, city, state, and country. Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be sent to you by email.

Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.

About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, partners with clients to accelerate their growth. The company's TEAM Research, Growth Consulting, and Growth Team Membership empower clients to create a growth focused culture that generates, evaluates, and implements effective growth strategies. Frost & Sullivan employs over 45 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses, and the investment community from more than 30 offices on six continents. For more information about Frost & Sullivan's Growth Partnership Services, visit the company's Web site.


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