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NanoMarkets has been covering the transparent conductor (TCs) market for just under a decade. During that time we have observed the market’s initial excitement and subsequent disappointment in the prospects of ITO alternatives. The technologies’ immaturity had a great deal to do with this failure but combined with the market’s unwillingness to adopt replacement solutions, significant corrections in the PV market, the resilience of LCD display technologies and the overpromising/underestimating by the vendor community resulted in what appeared to be another hype story gone bad.
However, within the past two years we have seen alternative TCs finally emerge as a serious business opportunity. Not only have they improved their performance compared to ITO, but they have found a fast growing application – touch-screen sensors – whose manufactures seem willing to accept alternative TCs as much more than just a “science experiment”: In 2014 we expect that between 10-15 percent of touch-screen sensors will use alternative TCs. And, that penetration number will only grow over the coming decade. Since touch sensing is expected to become increasingly common for displays over the same period, it seem that touch is a good place to be for alternative TCs right now.