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Innovations in Materials for Flexible Electronics

Innovations in Materials for Flexible Electronics

Flexible electronics are highly popular owing to their high usage convenience, novel display attributes, high reliability, and lightweight. These devices find high potential for adoption in a range of high-end application sectors, which includes consumer electronics, automotive, healthcare, energy, defense, and textiles. However, flexible electronics need to address several key challenges in their performance before they can satisfy high mass volume demand. Flexible substrate materials used for the development of flex circuits have been identified as key enabling components that determine the performance of flexible electronics. Flexible substrate materials that provide high device efficiency, optimal production costs, superior display attributes, and long lifetime need to be developed and further enhanced to pave the path for next-generation flexible electronics. This research study provides an analysis of the existing and emerging substrate materials that influence the flexible electronics industry. This includes glass, metal, polymers, paper, stretchable, and hybrid substrates to name the key ones. The research service also provides insights into each substrate materials and highlights the key stakeholder initiatives, while assessing the substrate material impact on the flexible electronics industry. The technology development scenario in the form of a technology roadmap maps the future direction expected from each flexible substrate material.


  • Executive Summary
    • Research Scope
    • Research Process and Methodology
    • Key Findings: Low-cost and Highly Optically Transparent Substrates Will Lead Adoption in Future
  • Technology Snapshot
    • Flexible Electronics - An Overview: An Emerging Product Concept Designed to Meet Consumer Demand for Novel Properties in Devices
    • Flexible Electronics - Application Segmentation: High Promise in the Consumer Electronics Sector
    • Flexible Substrates-Technology Snapshot: Enabling Technologies that Determine the Performance of Flexible Electronics
    • End User Requirements for Flexible Substrate Materials: Need for Stable Substrates that Facilitate High Performance of Devices
    • Currently Used Substrate Materials: Polymer Substrates Are Widely Adopted Followed by Metal Substrates
  • Materials Used for Flexible Electronic Substrates
    • Glass Substrates - Technology Snapshot: Highly Stable but Unsuitable for Mass Processing
    • Glass Substrates - Key Innovations: Large Volume Production of Ultrathin Glass
    • Metal Substrates-Technology Snapshot: High Impermeability and Lightweight Attributes
    • Metal Substrates - Key Innovations: Developments Include Flexible Solar Cells and OLEDs
    • Polymer Substrates - Technology Snapshot: Low Cost and Variations in Performance Properties
    • Overview of Polymer Substrates: PET and PEN Are the Most Widely Used Polymer Materials
    • Overview of Polymer Substrates: PI is Showing Promise in Adoption for Flexible Substrates
    • Overview of Polymer Substrates: PC Films Are Used in High Durability Applications
    • Polymer Substrates - Key Innovations: Applications Focused on Organic Electronics
    • End-user Gap Analysis: Unmet End-user Requirements Creates Demand for Novel Substrate Materials
    • Emerging Substrate Materials: Biocompatible and Stretchable Substrate Materials Are Being Developed
    • Emerging Materials - Key Innovations: Low-cost Substrate Materials with High Optical Performance
  • Industry Overview
    • Technology Drivers: Superior Printability and Lightweight Properties Drive Adoption
    • Technology Restraints: High Competition from Rigid Substrates and Lack of Materials That Provide Long Operation Lifetime Hinders Adoption
    • Technology Value Chain: Highly Integrated Industry with Increasing Contribution from Coating Developers
    • Key Technology Stakeholders: Technology Developers Are Spread across North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific
    • Recent R&D Initiatives: Government Funding Contributes Significantly to Technology Development
  • Technology Development and IP Trends
    • Global Technology Development Potential: North America Leads in Technology Development
    • Global Technology Adoption Potential: Mass Volume Production Methods Facilitate High Adoption in North America
    • Patent Trends - Country-wise Charts: US Leads Number of Granted Patents
      • Table Flexible Electronics Substrate Materials: Patent Trends by Country, Global, 2011-2015
    • Patent Trends - Historical Charts for All Substrate Materials: Main Focus Among Granted Patents Is on Polymer Substrates
      • Table Flexible Electronics Substrate Materials: Historical Patenting Trends, Global, 2011-2015
    • Patent Trends - Historical Charts for Polymer Substrate Materials: Highest Innovations on PET Substrates, Followed by PI
      • Table Flexible Electronics Polymer Substrate Materials: Historical Patenting Trends, Global, 2011-2015
  • Technology Benchmarking of Materials for Flexible Electronics
    • Opportunity Strategy Evaluation (OSE) of Flexible Substrate Materials
    • Insights from the OSE Grid: Increasing Opportunities for Material Developers
  • Technology Roadmap
    • Technology Roadmap - Assessment of Future Trends: Technology Development Scenario 2016-2020
    • Technology Roadmap - Explanation: High Performance PI Substrates and Biocompatible Substrates Are Key Innovations Expected in 2020
  • Key Patents
    • Key Patents - USPTO
    • Key Patents - EPO
    • Key Patents - WIPO
  • Key Contacts
  • Appendix
    • Appendix A - OSE Grid: Definition of Criteria Used for Evaluation
    • Appendix A - OSE Grid: Explanation of Quadrant Placement in the Matrix
    • Appendix A - OSE Grid: Criteria-based Evaluation of Currently Used Substrate Materials
      • Table Weighted Average Values for Currently Used Substrate Materials Based on their Probability of Success
      • Table Weighted Average Values for Currently Used Substrate Materials Based on their Level of Attractiveness
    • Appendix A - OSE Grid: Criteria-based Evaluation of Emerging Substrate Materials
      • Table Weighted Average Values for Emerging Substrate Materials Based on their Probability of Success
      • Table Weighted Average Values for Emerging Substrate Materials Based on their Level of Attractiveness

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