The market for transparent conductors used in display, photovoltaic, and lighting markets will reach approximately $9.4 billion by 2015, according to a new study from NanoMarkets, an industry analysis firm. The report, The Future of ITO: Transparent Conductor and ITO Replacement Markets, quantifies the opportunities for transparent conductors in specific applications: conventional flat-panel displays, touch-screen displays, flexible displays, electroluminescent lighting, OLED lighting, and photovoltaics.
According to the report, despite its many limitations, indium tin oxide (ITO) will maintain a large share of the transparent conductor market over the next decade. In fact, demand for this material will continue to grow even if indium prices continue to go up. By 2015 NanoMarkets expects the market for ITO-coated substrates to reach $8.0 billion, but also believes that during that time ITO inks and pastes will be commercialized and reach almost $600 million in sales.
While many of materials that have been put forward as ITO replacements fall well below the standards set for conductivity and transparency achieved by ITO itself, formulations made from carbon nanotubes and other nano-engineered materials are only at the beginning of their performance improvement curves and could take a major slice of the ITO given time. By 2015 NanoMarkets expects substrates coated nano-engineered transparent conductors to reach over $750 million in revenues.