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Printed electronics roadmap reveals opportunities, challenges

06 Jul 2015  | Julien Happich

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The Organic and Printed Electronics Association (OE-A) has just unveiled the 6th edition of its roadmap for organic and printed electronics that highlights key trends and challenges in these innovative technology fields.

Fields of application covered in this paper include organic LED (OLED) lighting, organic photovoltaics (OPV), flexible and OLED displays, electronics and components, and integrated smart systems. The document also provides an overview of the materials, substrates as well as the printing processes and other production techniques. The goal: providing common ground for industry and science.

Various industry sectors such as automotive, consumer electronics, household appliances, packaging and pharmaceuticals already market products based on organic and printed technologies. This is the main result of the OE-A's roadmapping process, in which over 250 OE-A experts took part to compile the common perspectives of more than 230 member companies and institutes in this sector.

Printed electronics roadmap

While OLED displays have become a true mass market item in mobile displays and are starting to penetrate the TV market, other industry sectors such as automotive, consumer electronics, white goods, pharmaceuticals/health care and packaging have embraced organic electronics and are bringing products to the market and the printed electronics industry is entering a phase of realistic growth, with significant revenues and with products appearing in more and more application areas.

But the paper also highlights the key challenges that need to be addressed for a large-scale market breakthrough. Much research and development must be done to increase the processes' resolution, registration, uniformity and characterisation.

Designing low-cost flexible transparent barriers for component encapsulation is a key challenge if we want to have reasonably durable and reliable printed electronics devices.

The printable materials' electrical performance, processability and stability also need to be improved, and all this calls for the development of appropriate standards and regulations for organic electronics.

"The roadmap provides an important foundation for the development and product planning for industry, politics and science," said Jeremy Burroughes, chair of OE-A and CTO at CDT Ltd.

The roadmap document is available at

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