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REPORT # Nano-415 PUBLISHED September 12, 2011
Markets for Silver-Based Transparent Conductors – 2011
  • Advanced Materials
  • Emerging Electronics

    Transparent conductive coatings and films have attracted both end user interest and investment in the past two years and none more so than nanosilver-based solutions.  There are as many as 15 firms now that have nanosilver-base transparent conducting materials on the market or who plan to get into this business in the not-too-distant future.   While there are a variety of other new approaches to transparent conductive materials, no other material has attracted as much attention as nanosilver.

    With the extremely high conductivity possible using nanosilver, this interest is hardly surprising.  And the use of nanosilver transparent conductors has also been boosted by the many uncertainties that now surround the established ITO market as well as the emergence of market sectors – notably touch display sensors – to which nanosilver transparent conductors seem especially well suited.  Cambrios, the “granddaddy” of the nanosilver transparent conductor industry, is already shipping to commercial customers and appears to be headed towards profitability.

    Given all of the above, nanosilver-based transparent conductors seem well on their way to being an important success story for the nanomaterials industry.  However, NanoMarkets believes that to understand where the real opportunities are in the nanosilver-based transparent conductor space a deeper analysis is required.  For example, although not often mentioned, there are differing approaches using nanosilver as a transparent conductor.  Some firms use inks based on silver nanostructures, some print grids that use nanosilver but are similar in style to the thick-film silver grids used for solar panels, some combine nanosilver with other transparent conductors including the classic ITO.

    This diversity raises the question of what kind of nanosilver solutions are best suited to current and future marketplace conditions and beyond that where nanosilver as a whole fits into the requirements for transparent conductors in both the display and solar panel industry.  Should suppliers of transparent conductors offer a range of transparent conductors – of which only some will be silver-based – to take advantage of customer needs?  And will nanosilver and nanotube transparent conductor solutions compete with each other or complement each other in some way?

    This report answers all these questions and more.  It also discusses which sectors of the display and solar panel industry are likely to be most open to nanosilver transparent conductors.  In addition, this report appraises the strategies of all the major firms offering or planning to offer nanosilver-based transparent conductor solutions, providing a clear idea of who the winners and losers in this space will be.  Finally, as with all NanoMarkets reports, this report provides a granular eight-year forecast, with breakouts by type of application and type of nanosilver solution used.

    The report is part of NanoMarkets ongoing coverage of the transparent conductor market that covers ITO, alternative TCOs, conductive polymers and transparent conductive nanomaterials.  NanoMarkets has been covering these materials and their applications for six years.

    Executive Summary
    E.1 Why Have Nanosilver-based Transparent Conductors Attracted so Much Attention?
    E.1.1 Silver and the Doubts About ITO
    E.1.2 Why Silver?
    E.2 Summary of Eight-year Forecasts of Transparent Conductor Markets
    E.3 Roadmap for Silver-based Transparent Conductors
    E.3.1 Why the FPD Market is the Path to the Future
    E.3.2 Product Roadmaps and Strategies
    E.4 Investment Picture and Firms to Watch
    E.5 Implications for the Nanosilver Business


    Chapter One: Introduction
    1.1 Background to this Report
    1.1.1 Silver as a Transparent Conductive Nanomaterial:  The One to Beat?
    1.1.2 The (Evolving) Joys and Challenges of Silver Transparent Conductors
    1.1.3 Applications for Silver-based Transparent Conductors:  The Touch-Screen Sensor Trap
    1.2 Objective and Scope of this Report
    1.2.1 Scope of Report
    1.3 Methodology of this Report
    1.4 Plan of this Report
    Chapter Two: Nanosilver Transparent Conductor Technologies and Strategies
    2.1 Evolution of the Silver Approach to Transparent Conductors
    2.1.1 Grids, Silver and Transparent Conductors
    2.1.2 Advantages of Silver Transparent Conductors
    2.1.3 Challenges of the Nanosilver Transparent Conductor Approach
    2.1.4 Competition Between the Nanosilver, Carbon Nanotube and Graphene Approaches to Transparent Conductors
    2.1.5 Overview of the Supply Structure for Silver-Based Transparent Conductors
    2.2 3M (U.S.)
    2.2.1 NanoMarkets' Assessment of 3M's Patterned Transparent Conductor
    2.3 Agfa (Belgium)
    2.4 Blue Nano (U.S.)
    2.5 Cambrios (U.S.)
    2.5.1 Products:  ClearOhm
    2.5.2 Markets Being Addressed by Cambrios:  Touch Screens, OLEDs and Solar
    2.5.3 Future Use for ClearOhm in LCDs
    2.5.4 Distributors and Supply Chain
    2.6 CareStream (U.S.)
    2.6.1 FLEXX
    2.7 Cima NanoTech (U.S./Israel)
    2.7.1 SANTE and Its Applications
    2.8 Dai Nippon Printing (Japan)
    2.9 Dow Chemical (U.S.)
    2.10 Fujifilm (Japan)
    2.11 Ferro (U.S.)
    2.12 Kodak (U.S.)
    2.13 PolyIC (Germany)
    2.13.1 Background to Company:  From Organic RFID to Transparent Conductors
    2.13.2 PolyTC:  PolyIC's Transparent Electrode Film
    2.13.3  PolyIC's  Marketing Strategy for PolyTC
    2.13.4 PolyIC's Strategy for PolyTC
    2.14 Saint-Gobain (France)
    2.14.1 Silverduct Technology
    2.14.2 Marketing and Further Development
    2.15 Sigma Technologies (U.S.)
    2.16 Sumitomo (Japan)
    2.17 Suzhou NanoGrid (China)
    2.18 Key Points from this Chapter


    Chapter Three: Markets and Market Issues for Silver-based Transparent Conductors
    3.1 Display Industry Markets for Silver-based Transparent Conductors
    3.1.1 Touch-Screen Sensors
    3.1.2 Next-Generation Displays: OLEDs, E-paper and Flexible Displays
    3.1.3 Can Silver-based Transparent Conductors Break into the LCD Space
    3.2 Photovoltaics Markets for Silver-based Transparent Conductors
    3.2.1 Thin-Film PV:  ITO on Its Way Out
    3.2.2 OPV and DSC
    3.3 Other Markets for Silver-based Transparent Conductors
    3.3.1 OLED Lighting
    3.3.2 EMI/RFI
    3.3.3 Antistatics
    3.4 Key Points from this Chapter
    Chapter Four: Eight-year Market Forecasts
    4.1 Forecasting Methodology and Assumptions
    4.1.1 Transparent Conductor Requirements by Volume for Each Application
    4.1.2 Pricing Used in the Forecasts
    4.1.3 Materials Wastage and these Forecasts
    4.1.4 Treatment of Hybrid Material Technologies
    4.2 Eight-Year Forecasts by Application
    4.2.1 Displays
    4.2.2 Photovoltaics
    4.2.3 Other Products that Use (or Could Use) Silver-based Transparent Conductors
    4.2.4 Summary of Forecasts by Applications
    4.3 Application by Type of Silver-based Transparent Conductor Product
    4.4 Silver-based Transparent Conductor Products:  Share of Total Transparent Conductor Market


    Abbreviations and Acronyms Used in this Report
    About the Author

    List of Exhibits


    Exhibit E-1:  Summary of Forecast of Silver-based Transparent Conductors by Application
    Exhibit 2-1:  Transparency of Transparent Conductive Material Types
    Exhibit 2-2:  Sheet Resistance of Transparent Conductive Material Types
    Exhibit 2-3:  Flexibility of Transparent Conductive Material Types
    Exhibit 2-4:  Cost of Transparent Conductive Material Types
    Exhibit 2-5:  Silver  Transparent Conductors and its Main Competitors: A Guide
    Exhibit 2-6:  Cambrios' ClearOhm Compared to ITO
    Exhibit 2-7:  PolyIC's PolyTC Transparent Conductive Film
    Exhibit 3-1:  Market Considerations for Silver-based Transparent Conductors Used for Touch-Screen Sensors
    Exhibit 3-2:  Market Considerations for Silver-based Transparent Conductors Used for PV Electrodes
    Exhibit 4-1:  Forecast of Silver-Based Transparent Conductive Materials in Displays
    Exhibit 4-2:  Forecast of Silver-Based Transparent Conductive Materials in Photovoltaics
    Exhibit 4-3:  Forecast of Silver-Based Transparent Conductive Materials in Other Applications
    Exhibit 4-4:  Forecast Summary of Silver-Based Transparent Conductive Materials
    Exhibit 4-5:  Forecast Summary of Silver-Based Transparent Conductive Materials by Product Type 
    Exhibit 4-6:  Silver-Based Transparent Conductive Materials: Share of Total Transparent Conductor Market


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