Organic electronics is a branch of electronics that deals with design, formulation and application of organic materials that possess electrical properties. The organic materials used are basically organic compoundsthat exhibit considerable electrical properties like conductivity.These materials are made up of tiny molecules or carbon-based polymers, hence also called polymer electronics or plastic electronics. Organic electronics offer the benefit of low-cost manufacturing as compared to conventional inorganic electronics. Organic electronics is environment-friendly and offers better resource utilization.
The different types of materials used in the manufacture of organic electronics include polymers, nanotubes, graphenes, carbon-based molecular structures, and hybrid materials. A commonly known application of organic materials is organic light-emitting diode (OLED), which is widely used in smartphones. Organic solar cells, television displays, and transistors are the other applications of organic electronics.Out of all these segments, organic displays contributethe highest revenue for the organic electronics market. Advantages of organic electronics are – they can be processed in room temperature unlike silicon, which requires temperatures above 1000°C. It can be produced in bulk and at low cost unlike the currently used expensive electronics. Organic electronic materials are flexible, brighter and consumes less power. On the other hand, its disadvantages include- water can damage it, high cost on research &development activity, low electrical conductivity and less life as compared to metallic conductors.
Some of the underlying drivers of the market include the rising disposable income of end-users anda preference for high-quality products, increasing investments of major companies in the organic electronics segment, competition among suppliers for product differentiation and a rise in concern towards environment protection. The consumer electronics segment,comprising smartphones and televisions, is expected to bring about a double-digit growth rateinthe organic electronics marketincoming six years. On the other hand, low electrical conductivity, complicated fabrication of material and the presence of more competent technologies are some of the restraints behind the development of the organic electronics market.
The organic electronics market is segmented on the basis of material used, application and geography. On the basis of materials used,the market is classified into semiconductors, conductors, substrates and dielectric materials. On the basis of applications,the market is categorised into displays, organic sensors, organic radio frequency identification tags (ORFIDs), photovoltaic systems, batteries, system components and smart applications. On the basis of geography, the market is divided into North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific, Japan, Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Middle East & Africa.
At present, some of the innovative applications of organic electronics include – displays, lighting, photovoltaic and other smart electronic systems. Constant research &development activities are leading to the development of biomedical implants and other biodegradable RFID tags. Other areas of exploration include possible application in memory devices, detectors, micro lenses, batteries, photoconductors, optical fibres and consumer packaging. Ongoing developments in the consumer electronics segment, especially smartphones, offer promising growth in terms of adoption of organic electronics. Technological advancements concerning organic photovoltaics, transistor technology and organic display technology, and developments in organic polymer materials are expected to drive market growth.
Some of the market players are Asahi Kasei Corporation, BASF SE, Bayer MaterialScience AG, Evonik Industries, DuPont, Henkel AG & Company, Optomec, ITRI, Samsung Display and Sony Corporation.The key strategies adopted by these players are product innovation and product differentiation. Organic electronics is an emerging market, hence most companies are focusing on sharing their expertise through partnership and collaboration. Scientific and technological developments by OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) and pure technology solution providers will help the organic electronics market to sustain and grow.