Printing is the basis of the new electronics. As Dr Colin Marsh of The Technology Partnership in the UK says, "The question is not whether printed electronics will change our world, but when. The first battle is being fought in the multi-billion-dollar markets of displays and data. Leaps in material performance and next-generation printing technologies are powering this drive to commercialisation."
Transistors and memory is the engine of this revolution. The market potential for these is greater than that for displays or any other printed and potentially printed component, though printed displays have hit the market first and are backed by more companies. Nevertheless, the number of organisations developing printed and potentially printed transistors and memory continues to rise and it has already reached 200 in number, 150 of which are analysed in the new report Printed Transistors and Memory 2007-2027 published July 2007.
There will be many winners in the supply and use of such transistors and memory and their materials, because the variety of needs is so great. It encompasses edible circuits, biodegradable and disposable devices, fault tolerant ones, those that take over a second to operate but are on paper and of extremely low cost and those that work at terahertz frequencies (Plastic E Print already achieves this very high frequency in the laboratory).
Only a minority of developers have decided what products to sell that contain these devices. They have chosen backplane drivers, usually for electrophoretic displays, or RFID in the main. However, the market potential may be greater for other things such as smart packages, merchandising features and toys. A possible split of sales in 2013 is shown below.
Source: IDTechEx report
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Source of top image: Thin Film Electronics