Innovation DB (Epsom, UK), the world’s largest licensable IP technology database, has conducted a comprehensive study of the production, development and application of plastic electronics. The conclusion: “Now is the time for the consumer electronics industry to adopt plastic electronics, as new devices are set to revolutionize parts of the industry. Benefits will include significantly lower costs, less material waste, lower energy consumption during manufacture, novel physical properties and increased sustainability,” said InnovationDB.
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Gerald Law, CEO of InnovationDB, commented: “The plastic electronics sector promises a mind-blowing array of new products and applications. This has thrown the entire sector into disarray. Plastic electronics is a step change in the way we use electronics at every point of the product life cycle. The total market for plastic electronics is estimated to grow from $26.54 billion in 2016 to $69.03 billion in 2025.”
A small selection of smart phones and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) TVs using plastic electronics technology are commercially available, with more on the way, said InnovationDB’s information. Working prototypes of roll-up screens and plastic electronic biosensors have been demonstrated. Bendable smart phones, self-charging laptops and bio-tattoos are on the brink of entering the real world, said the study.
Further applications of plastic electronics include:
- OLEDs, which currently dominate the commercial environment, with possible applications in smart contact lenses to monitor blood glucose levels, augmented reality and vision correction;
- organic thin-film transistors, which can make possible electronic skin, back-of-hand fitness trackers and smart skin (instead of a smart watch);
- organic photovoltaics that enable the creation of inexpensive, lightweight and flexible solar cells. Mercedes-Benz currently uses a multi-voltaic, spray-on solar paint using OPV technology on its G-Code concept car.
Plastic electronics use organic semiconducting materials to create electronic devices, enabling circuits to be deposited or printed onto almost any surface or material, both rigid and flexible. A summary of the report can be read at www.innovationdb.com/Products/Reports/Report-2.