Flexible Transparent Conductor

From liquid composition

A new material which combines market-leading optical and electrical performance with improved flexibility and an expanded range of coating options

 

Company Name

Oxford University Innovation

Reference Number 1212

Market Sectors:

Electronics, Energy, Engineering, IT & Telecoms, Manufacturing

Operational Areas

IT & Telecoms, Manufacturing & Production, Operations
 

Commercial Solutions

Increase Efficiency
Reduce Cost
 

Commercial Opportunities

Seeking Alliance, Seeking Collaboration, IP Advice

Speed to Market

Over 12 months
 

OVERVIEW OF FEATURES, BENEFITS AND RESULTS

A new material which combines market-leading optical and electrical performance with improved flexibility and an expanded range of coating options.

Growing Markets and New Markets

The market for transparent conductors is forecast to grow from $6bn in 2012 to nearly $12bn in 2016. This spectacular growth is fuelled by the use of their materials in flat panel displays and touch screens for appliances such as tablets and smartphones. These materials also find use in thin-film photovoltaics, solid-state lighting and specialist coating applications.

Opportunities for still further applications exist, however the cost, performance, accessibility and processing limitations of the current market-leading materials such as indium tin oxide (ITO) prevent their broader exploitation. For example, the brittleness of ITO makes it unsuitable for use in flexible displays.

Clear Advantages

We have developed a method for forming a solid transparent conductor from a liquid composition to produce a new material offering a number of enhancements and user-benefits:

  • Truly flexible transparent conductor enables improved flexible displays and enhanced durability in existing touch screen devices.
  • “Paint-like” material properties mean that high precision coating techniques are not required. Traditional deposition options such as dip or spray coating can be used resulting in lower processing costs for industries such as thin-film photovoltaics.
  • “Thick” film capability means freestanding transparent films can be produced offering excellent electrical conductivity in all directions. In addition, using “thick” films allows a broad range of surface textures to be coated. Each of these benefits opens up new fields for the application of transparent conductors.
  • Matching ITO’s conductivity using cheaper source materials – ITO is expensive as indium is a rare element – means improved price/performance in existing high volume markets such as flat panel displays.

Special Features:

  • Matching  ITO’s  conductivity  using cheaper  source  materials  –  ITO  is expensive as indium is a rare element – means  improved  price/performance  in existing  high  volume  markets  such  as flat panel displays.
  • The transparent conductor is truly flexible and enables improved flexible displays and enhanced durability in existing touch screen devices.
  • The material properties are paint – like, so that traditional deposition techniques such as dip or spray coating can be used in place of expensive high precision coating techniques.
  • The freestanding transparent films have thick film capability that allows a broad range of surface textures to be coated and also affords excellent electrical conductivity in all directions.

Applications:

  • Capacitive displays
  • Thin-film photovoltaics
  • Solid state lightings
  • Specialist coatings
  • Capacitive switching in new fields such as household products, consumer electronics and toys.

Who Needs These New Materials?

The reduced costs, greater flexibility and attractive processing options this technology offers will be of interest to both producers and users of all transparent conductors.

COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITIES

The underlying invention is the subject of a UK Patent application and work to develop this technology is continuing. Companies interested in progressing the commercial opportunities for this technology are invited to contact us.

 

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