IDTechEX Graph

Flexible mounted components are key components of the emerging manufacturing trend known as ‘Flexible Hybrid Electronics’ (FHE). FHE seeks to resolve some of the compromises inherent in printed electronics by combining mounted components (such as flexible ICs) with printed conductive traces on a flexible substrate. 

While wearable electronics and smart packaging are forecast to be the most promising applications, FHE can be applied across many sectors. Further details on flexible ICs and FHE, including multiple case studies, can be found in the IDTechEx report “Flexible Hybrid Electronics 2020-2030: Applications, Challenges, Innovations and Forecasts”.

Advances in OLED Materials

Turning to OLED materials, the dominant technical trend is the emergence of a new class of materials that promise lower-costs, high efficiency, and a wider color gamut. Known as triplet activated delayed fluorescent (TADF) materials, they represent an entirely new approach to ensuring that all the incoming charges are utilized in producing light. Orange emitters, using materials developed by Japanese film Kyulux, have already been commercialized for small displays, with other colors set to follow in 2021.

Additionally, we were especially impressed this year by a novel approach to the host materials, which generally receive less research effort than their emissive counterparts. Developed by early-stage US firm Molecular Glasses, this innovative host material increases the solubility of dopant molecules, be they fluorescent, phosphorescent or TADF, while retaining charge transport capabilities. 

This is achieved by making the host material from a wide range of subtly different chemical structures, known as an isomeric mixture. As such, crystallization of the host material is prevented and emissive dopant molecules are more evenly dispersed, thus avoiding aggregation. This in turn reduces interaction between charges and excitons prior to light emission, improving luminescent efficiency. For an extensive discussion of materials for OLEDs, other organic semiconductor applications and indeed many other material categories please see the recently released IDTechEx report “Materials for Printed/Flexible Electronics 2021-2031: Technologies, Applications, Market Forecasts”.