Transparent electronics is an emerging technology that employs wide band-gap semiconductors for the realization of invisible circuits. This monograph provides the first roadmap for transparent electronics, identifying where the field is, where it is going, and what needs to happen to move it forward.
Although the central focus of this monograph involves transparent electronics, many of the materials, devices, circuits, and process-integration strategies discussed herein will be of great interest to researchers working in other emerging fields of optoelectronics and electronics involving printing, large areas, low cost, flexibility, wearability, and fashion and design.
The global transparent electronics market is expected to witness considerable growth over the forecast period on account of technological advancements and growing demand for sophisticated compact products worldwide. An increasing need for miniaturization of electronic devices is expected to be a major trend driving market growth.
Transparent electronics focus on producing invisible electronic circuitry and optoelectronic devices. This technology employs wide band-gap semiconductors for invisible circuits realization. Transparent electronics conducts through transparent conducting oxides (TCO) such as ZnO, CdO, In2O3, and SnO2. Transparent electronics applications include consumer electronics, transportation, and energy sources. Transparent electronics reduce the size and increase the memory capacity of electronic devices. TCOs are used in several applications which include optical coatings, in touch display panels, optical coating, flat panel displays, solar cells, heaters, defrosters, and smart windows. TCOs can also be used as electrical coatings or passive optical. TCOs have applications in transparent electronics owing to their inherent features such as high electrical conductivity and optical transparency.
Silicon compounds are expected to have a major impact on the transparent electronic materials market. Transparent technology has increased the potential of products developed with features such as surfing the web and the ability to display information on an automobile windshield. The development of Resistive Random Access Memory (RRAM) based on zinc tin oxide is also referred to as memristor which helps the computer memory operate on-resistance is expected to open new avenues for market growth.
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Manufacturers have been including passive components such as dielectrics in applications such as organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), liquid crystal displays (LCD), and solar cells which are expected to drive demand in the near future. The transparent films have also been used for photo-catalytic purification of fluids & gases and gas sensing. As active components, more emphasis is laid on the use of light-emitting diodes, transparent thin-film transistors, UV sensors, and lasers.
ZnO-based thin-film transistors are fabricated with the optical transmission which includes a substrate in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. Exposure to intense ultraviolet radiation gives rise to persistent photoconductivity which are associated with the creation of electron-hole pairs by ultraviolet photons. Thin Film Transistor (TFT) application involves the use of select-transistors in each pixel of an active-matrix liquid crystal display. Transparent electronics includes several material & design advancements, coupled with innovative processing methods.
Growing penetration of touch-enabled electronic devices is expected to drive transparent electronics market growth over the forecast period. Increasing initial capital investment is expected to pose a challenge for the market.
The transparent electronics market is segmented based on applications which include windows, displays and solar panels. Transparent displays are used in applications which include windows for automobiles & buildings and show windows for shopping malls. Transparencies of solar cells at a specific lighter band are anticipated to open avenues for applications such as solar windows.
The key market players include Cambrios Technologies Corporation, Evaporated Coatings Inc, Dontech Inc, Apple Inc, Corning Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Sharp Corporation, and Saint-Gobain SA. Apple Inc. has been following the strategy to acquire patents for transparent displays for addressing the consumer need for transparent electronic products. The company is engaged in investments for the development of more sophisticated products with transparent technology.
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