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Transparent Electronics: $20 Billion Market Comes into Sight

The rapidly expanding business of transparent electronics includes transparent electrics and optronics. For example, the new LG and Xiaomi micro-LED displays will constitute the best see-through billboards with “bright images floating in the air” in planned smart cities, self-powering if another layer is added.

More giants are becoming involved. Hyundai promises that some of its future electric cars will retain large roof windows, but its new versions will generate enough solar electricity to increase range. In 2020, Chinese railways newly deployed LG OLED train windows that have interactive, light-emitting color displays visible when needed.

The IEA finds that 40.5% of global energy consumption is commercial and residential, mainly in buildings.

NREL in the USA develops self-darkening, electricity-generating windows that will save a huge chunk of grid power because buildings will need less cooling and move towards electricity independence.

IDTechEx calculates that, in the years to come, the windows of a high rise may generate as much as 0.5MW and, if they darken in response to the sun, the saving is even more considerable.

Transparent photovoltaics is inherently bifacial, and manufacturer Onyx has successfully added the glass as fins at the sides of windows.

North America has an increasing number of Soliculture farm greenhouses that let in the types of light that optimally grow plants while using the rest to make electricity.

The transparency is achieved using transparent materials or alternatively opaque materials in patterns that let light through as with your car window antenna and demister patterns and phone touch screens, though see-through phones are only a solution looking for a problem.

In Germany, a Fraunhofer institute is developing headlamp glass that steers the radar beam of driverless vehicles.

VDL offers transparent heater laminate to go over the inside fitments of electric vehicles, saving weight and power, increasing range.

Raghu Das, IDTechEx CEO, adds, “Certain layered constructs are widely useful in transparent electronics. The report “Transparent Electronics Materials, Applications, Markets 2021-2041” analyses how barrier layers protect displays and photovoltaics and how conducting patterns can constitute nantennas, ballistic diodes, demisters, electrodes, interconnects, inductors, defrosters, and so on.

“However, when considering the next twenty years, we must add another key enabler. The new transparent metamaterials are honeycomb and patterned constructs, sometimes needing better materials for finer detailing and mass production. They will facilitate 5G and 6G communications, robotic vehicles and the new terahertz electronics, possibly even cooling photovoltaics by nothing more than an overlayer.”

IDTechEx does facts-based analysis using its PhD level technologists across the world. Part of the input for its forecasts includes appraisal of the research pipeline.

The report has a comprehensive, easily-grasped Executive Summary and Conclusions with new infograms and 29 forecasts. The Introduction presents the main aspects coming into prominence from 2021-2041.

Chapters 3 and 4 analyze the many types of transparent display emerging.

Chapter 5 is a deep dive into transparent photovoltaics as it finds new uses and becomes multifunctional.

Chapter 6 explains what is happening with see-through circuits, whether using opaque material patterns with gaps or using transparent conductive layers. Chapter 7 addresses electrically darkened glass in buildings, vehicles, and more.

Chapter 8 covers enabling constructs in transparent electronic devices, including metamaterials.

Questions answered include:

  • Why are big names becoming so interested?
  • What are the most vibrant, growth markets for transparent electronics 2021-2041?
  • Value markets by type and roadmap 2021-2041
  • What materials are needed and how will they evolve?
  • Gaps in the market? Leading researchers showing the way to solutions?
  • Technical progress with transparent LCD, mini-LED, micro-LED, QD, OLED displays?
  • Emerging applications of transparent displays?
  • Transparent photovoltaics progress, new applications, multifunctionality?
  • Progress with transparent circuits – what new functionality, materials, potential?
  • Electrically darkening glass: progress, potential, materials?
  • Combinations of transparent electronics? How? Why?
  • Enablers: construction, materials, uses of barrier layers, conductive patterns?
  • How will metamaterials become very important in transparent electronics?

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