As IDTechEx completes research for its trilogy of reports on printed and potentially printed electronics in, respectively, East Asia, Europe and North America, it is becoming clear how different the priorities are in these three regions. In each region, one country is well ahead of the others in developing printed and potentially printed electronics, including electrics. These dominant countries are Japan, Germany and the USA. They set the pace and indicate the trends for the rest.
When we look at the number of organisations doing significant work, that IDTechEx has profiled, roughly half are academic and half industrial. We see that the USA is well ahead followed by Germany and Japan as shown below.
Number of profiled organisations by country
However, as we have noted in previous articles, in Japan, a relatively small number of giant corporations have very wide ranging, strongly funded work in the area. This is illustrated by the technologies being pursued, chosen from OLED (display or lighting), ac electroluminescent display, electrophoretic display, RFID, transistor, photovoltaic organic, photovoltaic inorganic, battery and other. Here, the total number of activities is dominated by the USA but with Japan up in the number two position followed by Germany as shown below. Indeed, we believe that Japan may also be investing more money in the subject than Germany does
Number of technology projects by country
This analysis shows us which technologies excite which countries - and there are differences.
Most supported technology by number of projects
For example, the USA has a remarkable 68 organisations supporting compound inorganic photovoltaics for the next generation of solar panels. By this, we mean beyond conventional crystalline and amorphous silicon, which may never be printed and is not in the survey. One common theme in the above ranking is that transistors are universally recognised as the engine of the emerging $300 billion market for printed electronics, just as transistors - in the form of silicon chips - were the engine of the traditional electronics market.
It is also interesting that, although organic photovoltaics gets a great deal of publicity, it is inorganic photovoltaics, particularly in the form of Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide CIGS then titanium dioxide Dye Sensitised Solar Cells DSSC, that are getting the broadest photovoltaic support in these countries that are leading the world in printed and thin film electronics.
For more on the forthcoming report "Printed Electronics in North America", the last of the trilogy, contact Peter Harrop on email@example.com