According to a newly released report from NanoMarkets,
an industry analysis firm based here, organic electronics (OE) manufacturing
has advanced to a stage where companies are now capable of producing electronics
devices in volume that can compete with products offered by the traditional
semiconductor companies. These and other findings from the report, "The
Future of Organic Electronics Manufacturing," can be found at www.nanomarkets.net.
The OE manufacturing base is moving beyond just OLEDs. Plastic Logic has a
manufacturing facility that can produce about a million display backplanes each
year using organic transistors (OTFTs). Konarka has recently leased a former
Polaroid coating facility that will give it a capacity of up to 1 GW of solar
panel production annually, potentially putting Konarka in the top tier of solar
panel makers worldwide. According to NanoMarkets, manufacturing capacity for
all OE products is expected to grow from approximately 23 million m(2)/year
in 2011, to 42.9 million m(2)/year by 2014.
Innovations are making traditional thermal deposition techniques increasingly
effective in today's OE fab. This contrasts with the consensus of a few years
ago, which said that printing would soon become the wave of the future for fabricating
OE devices. New roll-to-roll vacuum equipment is increasing throughput, lowering
costs and making deposition more uniform. Organic vapor phase deposition (OVPD)
is improving on the traditional evaporation process by eliminating the need
for line-of-sight deposition. Thermal evaporation molecular jet (MoJET) printing
is bringing printing like control to thermal evaporation. Both OVPD and MoJET--by
depositing material uniformly one point at a time--simultaneously solve the
patterning, uniformity, and utilization problems inherent in typical vapor deposition.
NanoMarkets' new report claims that total sales of all equipment for OE applications
are expected to grow from $226 million in 2011, to $378.6 million in 2014.
The first wave of OE manufacturing utilized standard semiconductor and industrial
printing equipment. The next wave will use equipment designed for specific OE
devices, enabling lower manufacturing costs and higher device performance. Such
specialized processes also enable firms to build value through the development
of proprietary manufacturing processes. General Electric's new roll-to-roll
OLED lighting manufacturing process, for example, is specifically designed for
the requirements of white OLEDs providing these devices with improved color-rendering
index and air-stable encapsulation. Similarly, Sony has developed novel deposition
and patterning processes for flexible AMOLED displays.