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REPORT # Nano-770 PUBLISHED January 13, 2015
Markets for Carbon Nanotubes as Transparent Conductors
  • Advanced Materials
    Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) as transparent conductors (TC) have been an on-again, off-again affair for almost a decade.  Originally proposed as a future competitor for ITO in the display industry, CNTs have lost mindshare as silver coatings and grids have proven easier to commercialize.
    In the past couple of years, however, CNTs have been showing promise again as a low-cost TC developed in Asia and used for low-performance cell phones.  Meanwhile, some of the firms that continue to work on a high-quality CNT TC are claiming progress and believe that they will have a material that can challenge ITO for use in touch-screen sensors within a relatively short space of time.
    But how far can CNTs really go this time?  Do low-cost CNTs really have a future or are they just a curiosity?  Will any firm manage to bring CNTs into the TC mainstream?  And will CNTs ever be able to best what silver coatings have to offer in the TC space?
    In this report, NanoMarkets provides a thorough analysis of the prospects for CNTs in the TC space.  It shows how these materials currently compare with the main TC alternatives and how this is likely to change in the future.  It also examines how CNT-based materials fit into requirements for TCs in the display, solar panels, lighting, anti-statics and EMI shielding. 
    Based on our analysis of current R&D directions in this space and market requirements, we also propose a roadmap for how CNTs will evolve in the TC marketplace in the next eight years.  This is accompanied by a detailed eight-year forecasts of CNT materials in the TC space, with breakouts by application and performance type.  These forecasts are presented in square meters of coating and by value of the market.  Finally, the report assesse the changing CNT TC supply chain, covering both the primary suppliers of the TC material and CNT firms who have targeted the TC space.  

    Executive Summary    
    E.1 Carbon Nanotube Transparent Conductors:  Three Market Strategies    
    E.1.1 Strategy #1:  No Change in Direction    
    E.1.2 Strategy #2:  Adding Value    
    E.1.3 Strategy #3:  Low-Performance    
    E.1.4 Strategy #4:  Exit
    E.2 Eight-Year Forecasts of CNT TCs by Applications
    E.3 Eight-Year Forecasts of Opportunities for CNT TCs by Performance Category    

    Chapter One: Introduction    
    1.1 Background to this Report    
    1.1.1 Where CNT TCs Stand Today:  A Broken Business Model    
    1.1.2 Disappointment and Revival: Changed Business Models    
    1.1.3 Three Questions About the Future of CNT TC Markets    
    1.1.4 China Looming
    1.2 Objectives and Scope of this Report    
    1.3 Methodology of this Report    
    1.4 Plan of this Report    

    Chapter Two: Evolution of CNT Transparent Conductors    
    2.1 High-Performance CNT TCs:  Where Are We Now?    
    2.1.1 Recent Changes in the Supply Chain Evolution for CNT TCs    
    2.2 The Birth of Low-Performance CNT TCs:  Do They Have Potential?    
    2.3 The Advantages and Disadvantages of Carbon Nanotubes for Transparent Conductors    
    2.3.1 Limiting the Carbon Nanotube: Making Them “Just Conductors”    
    2.3.2 Derivatization of Carbon Nanotubes    
    2.4 How Well Do CNT TCs Stack Up Against Other TCs    
    2.4.1 Silver Nanomaterials    
    2.4.2 Metal Meshes    
    2.4.3 Other Alternative TCs    
    2.4.4 Graphene:  Does it Stand a Chance in the Transparent Conductor Market?    
    2.4.5 The Persistence of ITO    
    2.5 Key Points Made in this Chapter    

    Chapter Three: Potential Markets and Roadmap for Carbon Nanotube TCs    
    3.1 Future Prospects for CNTs in the Touch Sensor Business    
    3.1.1 Reasons for Replacing ITO in Pro-Cap Displays—Alternative Solutions Including CNTs    
    3.1.2 The Analog-Resistive Touch Sensors as a Market for Transparent Conductors including CNT TCs    
    3.1.3 Eight-Year Forecasts of CNT TCs in the Touch-Screen Sensor Industry    
    3.2 Will CNTs Ever Replace ITO in Conventional Displays:  LCDs and OLEDs?    
    3.2.1 CNTs in the OLED Market    
    3.2.2 The Quest to Get Rid of ITO in OLEDs    
    3.2.3 Conventional Flat-Panel Displays: Stuck On ITO Forever?    
    3.2.4 Eight-Year Forecasts of CNT Transparent Conductors in the Flat-Panel Display and OLED Display Industries    
    3.3 CNTs and E-paper    
    3.3.1 Eight-Year Forecasts of CNT Transparent Conductors in the E-Paper Display and Lighting Market    
    3.4 Flexible Electronics Mythologies and Realities: Their Impact on the Transparent Conductor Market    
    3.5 CNTs, TCs and OLED Lighting:  Eight-Year Forecasts    
    3.6 CNTs and Solar Panels
    3.6.1 Transparent Conductors in CIGS PV Market:  Room for CNTs?    
    3.6.2 Organic PV, Dye Sensitized Cells and CNTs    
    3.6.3 Eight-Year Forecast for CNT TCs in Solar Panels
    3.7 CNT Coatings for Anti-Statics, EMI Shielding and IR/UV Protection:  Eight-Year Forecasts    
    3.7.1 Antistatic Applications for CNT Transparent Conductors    
    3.7.2 Transparent Conductors in EMI/RFI Shielding    
    3.7.3 IR and UV Protection Opportunities for Transparent Conductors    
    3.8 Other Potential Applications for CNT TCs    
    3.9 Key Points Made in this Chapter    

    Chapter Four: Carbon Nanotubes:  Suppliers and Supply Structure    
    4.1 Canatu (Finland)    
    4.1.1 Claimed Technical Superiority of NanoBuds    
    4.1.2 Product/Market Strategy:  Expanded Horizons for CNT TCs    
    4.1.3 Manufacturing Strategy    
    4.2 C3Nano (United States)    
    4.3 CNTouch/Foxconn (Taiwan/China)
    4.4 Linde (Germany)    
    4.5 Sang Bo (Korea)    
    4.6 SWeNT (United States)    
    4.7 Top Nanosys (Korea)    
    4.8 Toray (Japan)    
    Acronyms and Abbreviations Used In this Report    
    About the Author    

    List of Exhibits

    Exhibit E-1: Product/Market Strategies for CNT Transparent Conductors    
    Exhibit E-2: Summary of Forecast of Carbon Nanotube Transparent Conductors by Application ($ Millions, except for final line)    
    Exhibit E-3: Summary of Forecast of Carbon Nanotube Transparent Conductors by Performance Class ($ Millions)
    Exhibit 2-1: NanoMarkets' Perspective and Expectations of Penetration of Selected Transparent Conductor Materials
    Exhibit 3-1: Why the Touch Sensor Business is Attractive for Transparent Conductor Makers    
    Exhibit 3-2: Forecast of CNT TCs for Touch-Screen Display Sensors    
    Exhibit 3-3: Long-Term Issues that ITO Faces in the OLED Market    
    Exhibit 3-4: Forecast of CNT TCs for Flat-Panel Displays (LCD and PDP)    
    Exhibit 3-5: Forecast of CNT TCs  in OLED Displays (Excludes OLED Lighting)    
    Exhibit 3-6: Forecast of CNT TCs in E-Paper Displays    
    Exhibit 3-7: Flexibility of Transparent Conductive Material Types    
    Exhibit 3-8: Forecast of Transparent CNT TCs in OLED Lighting    
    Exhibit 3-9: Forecast of Transparent CNT TCs  in Thin-Film Photovoltaics    
    Exhibit 3-10: Forecast of Transparent Conductive Materials Requirements in OPV/DSC    
    Exhibit 3-11: Forecast of CNT Transparent Conductive Materials in Antistatic Coatings    
    Exhibit 3-12: Forecast of Transparent Conductive CNT Materials in Electromagnetic Shielding    


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