Organic electronics: the growth opportunities of the sector

In recent years, organic electronics have evolved considerably, introducing significant innovations to the market such as organic and flexible sensors that have broken new ground in the automotive, healthcare, logistics and product traceability sectors. Recently, organic materials have attracted attention as they provide an alternative for manufacturing electronic components based on silicon and therefore made from inorganic materials.

What is organic electronics?

An electronic component is defined as organic when its functioning depends on organic materials , i.e. polymers or small molecules that have carbon as their basic element. Organic materials unlike inorganic ones show lower performance, for example the mobility of an organic material is on average three orders of magnitude lower than traditional silicon. Therefore, the growth of organic electronics is linked to the possibility of producing devices where its qualities compensate for the low efficiency .

Organic electronics make it possible to produce high quality devices.
Organic electronics make it possible to produce high quality devices.

The advantages offered by organic electronics

A big advantage of organic electronics over traditional is to be able to produce flexible and extendable devices. Furthermore, the realization of these devices does not require high temperature passages, nor expensive deposition equipment; on the contrary, the low cost, lightness and flexibility are some of the advantages of this technology , which lead us to think that it will have a great diffusion in wearable electronics. Some materials possess photoconductive properties and by using these substances it may be possible to create solar cell or superconducting systems at very low prices.

Another advantage lies in the possibility of obtaining a pattern (a drawing, a structure, a circuit) on an area through printing methods. In fact, it is possible to use these methods to work inexpensive substrates, such as glass, plastic or particular fabrics.

The challenges of the sector

This sector has to face several challenges: one above all is the instability of the compounds. Many organic materials are degraded as soon as they are exposed to air, water or light . Furthermore, there are limits on the use of organic structures as real devices, that is, on the processes to connect them to the electronic circuit; or how to connect metallic contacts to organic materials.

organic electronics
One of the challenges of organic electronics is the degradation of materials.

Furthermore, since organic structures are often not regular lattices, there are a limited number of locations where impurities can be added to increase their mobility (doping). In fact, electrons are essentially placed in covalent bonds and their mobility in organic materials is lower than that of traditional semiconductors: this means that their applications must reside in the low frequency range.

Organic electronics market, forecasts and growth opportunities

Despite the challenges facing the industry, the organic electronics market is growing rapidly. The increase in the market is attributed to the increasing adoption of this technology in various applications , including photovoltaic cells, OLED screens, batteries and memory devices, transistors, identification tags, etc.

According to the Market Research Future (MRFR), the organic electronics market valuation is poised to garner exponential traction by 2027, posting an impressive CAGR over the valuation period (2016-2027). The increase in customer preference for flexible substrates such as PET, PEN, TPU confirm the growth of the market. On the other hand, lack of skills and limited R&D budgets are significant factors that will most likely limit growth, hindering the development of existing systems.

However, technological updates planned in recent years support market growth throughout the evaluation period, bringing the necessary skills and reducing the costs of organic electronics. Many companies are focusing on developing their product portfolios with the latest technologies following organic and inorganic growth approaches.

Curated by Antonino Pagano

The article Organic Electronics: The Growth Opportunities in the Industry Comes from Tech CuE | Close-up Engineering .