Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets has just released a new report tiled, "Printed Gold: Gold Inks and Pastes Market - 2011" that examines the markets for gold inks and pastes in the electronics and solar industries. The report discusses both the gold pastes used in traditional applications such as wire bonding and brazing and a new breed of inks based gold nanoparticles.
These next-generation inks are expected to find uses in MEMS, data storage and computer memory, "green" electronics, photovoltaics (PV) and sensors. NanoMarkets estimates that the total volume of gold consumed by gold inks and pastes for electronics and PV applications will reach 13.7 tonnes by 2016.
This report provides eight-year projections (both volume and value) of all major applications in which gold inks and pastes are, or will be, used. These projections also include a breakout by the kind of printing process used: jetting, screen or flexo/grave. Among the firms discussed in this report are: Bellman-Melcor, Bosch, Brazetec, DuPont, Ercon, ESL Electroscience, Hitachi, IBM, Indium Corporation, Johnson Matthey, Krohn, Samsung and Umicore. The report also includes an analysis of research taking place at Berkeley, ETH, Rensselaer, UCLA, University of Melbourne, University of Tokyo, VTT and other major research centers.
Additional details about this report are at http://www.nanomarkets.net.
Although the gold pastes market is mature, NanoMarkets sees an opportunity for "nanopastes," which would serve traditional thick-film markets but could provide significantly lower processing costs. However, according to NanoMarkets the main new business opportunities for the materials considered in this report will come mainly from novel applications using "nanoinks"
One of these opportunities may come from printing a thin layer of gold nanoparticles on optical disks, such as CDs and DVDs, which could greatly increase the amount of information being stored. Gold nanorods, in particular, have been noted as a material that can help provide new technology strategies for optical information storage.
A printed layer of gold nanoparticles may also help to boost the efficiency of solar panels and, in this context, NanoMarkets notes that, in general, printing has taken on a growing role in PV in recent years. Also, the report says that the market for gold inks and pastes will be driven not just by the rise of alternative energy sources but also by environmental regulation. For example, the report says that gold pastes will benefit commercially from the regulatory requirements for lead-free electronics that have gone into force in both Europe and the U.S. In addition, there are increasing concerns by regulators with regard to nanosilver and printed nanogold may serve as a good substitute in some applications.
Yet another opportunity that NanoMarkets sees for printed gold is in sensors. Gold is already a common material in sensors, although today it mostly plated. But printing is becoming more established as a fabrication tool for making sensors - especially for large area sensors -- so there will be a fit for printed gold opportunities in the future.