Transparent conducting films (TCF) are thin layers of transparent electrically conductive material having touchscreen and photovoltaics modules. TCF are fabricated from organic and inorganic materials. Inorganic films are made up of thin layers of transparent conducting oxide which include fluorine doped tin oxide (FTO), indium tin oxide (ITO), and doped zinc oxide. Organic films are developed using networks of carbon nanotubes and graphene, coupled with poly (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene) (PEDOT) and its derivatives. High elasticity, good conductivity, and tensile strength have made carbon nanotubes conducting films more attractive than others.
Indium tin oxide (ITO) is the widely used technology for the production of TCF. LCD displays is the largest application of TCF followed by photovoltaics, touchscreens, and other displays. The market value of TCF was more than a billion USD in 2011. The material cost of carbon nanotubes is similar to indium tin oxide but the structure of making carbon nanotubes TCF is much easier which makes its overall cost lower. Carbon nanotubes, graphene, and transparent organic material are the most widely used technologies for TCF production followed by metal nanoparticles, indium tin oxide, and other metal oxides.
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Developments in display, solar, and touch screen applications will provide various opportunities for the TCF industry. Increase in the demand for flexible devices such as eReader is expected to drive the demand for TCF from 2012 to 2018. The ever rising price of the indium tin oxide technology is limiting the growth of the TCF industry.
Some of the key participants in the TCF industry are Caledon Controls, Cambrios Technologies Corp., Canatu Ltd., Carestream Advanced Materials, Dai Nippon Printing Co Ltd. (DNP), Dontech Inc., Eastman Kodak, Eikos, Fujifilm Ltd., Gunze Ltd., Heraeus Clevios, Holst Centre, Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc., Mitsui Ltd., Japan, NanoForge, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), National University of Singapore, Samsung Electronics, Sang Bo Corporation, and Sigma-Aldrich.
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