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Lowcost Transparent Conductors
come from:Isis | time:2014-3-10 | views:

- Isis Project No 3043

A transparent conductor that is a low cost, high performance alternative to ITO with potential applications in displays, lighting and EMI shielding.

Marketing Opportunity

Transparent conductive coatings are used in a number of areas e.g. liquid crystal displays, flat panel displays, plasma displays, touch panels, electronic inks, organic light-emitting diodes, solar cells, lighting, antistatic coatings and electromagnetic shielding.  Today, Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) is the most used material and offers an excellent combination of electrical conductivity and optical transparency.  However, as ITO uses most of the world’s very scarce Indium supply, it is expensive.  So the search for suitable alternatives is on!

The Oxford Invention

Zinc Oxide (ZnO) based materials have been of interest for electronic applications for many years in view of their suitable band gap, electron density and electron mobilities.  Until now their exploitation has been limited by their electrical conductivity. Researchers at the Universities of Oxford and Birmingham have worked on the optimisation of doped ZnO based materials.  This work has not only involved the synthesis of these materials, but also their thin film deposition and subsequent characterisation.

These new doped ZnO materials are proposed as an alternative to ITO and offer a number of advantages:

  • High conductivity within an order of magnitude of ITO.
  • Greater than 80% optical transparency for comparable film thicknesses.
  • Much lower cost as ZnO is an abundant material.
  • Compatibility with several industrial deposition and patterning techniques.

Patent Status

This work is the subject of a UK patent application, and Isis would like to talk to companies interested in developing the commercial opportunity that this represents.  Please contact the Isis Project Manager to discuss this further.