According to Peter Harrop of IDTechEx, “Second generation printed electronics has arrived and its impact on society will be immense. Transparent solar cells will be on watches by year end, and vast areas of printed flexible photovoltaics will be available within the next few years. Heliovolt promises a high efficiency silicon-free photovoltaic film in 2007. Polymer alternatives will have lower efficiency but often be lower in cost. Announcements have yet to be made, but IDTechEx has identified several companies that will be commercializing polymer solar film in 2007.
“Light emitting moving color displays, vehicle and room lighting on flexible substrates, the electronic book and many forms of disposable electronics are near to mass rollout,” Harrop adds. “One example is a Sony e-book developed with e-ink electrophoretics. Some new versions are flexible and use printed polymer Thin Film Transistor Circuits TFTCs from Plastic Logic as back plane drivers. Working samples of these have been widely available in 2006.”
This year saw smart drug packs with printed sensors and sometimes printed batteries, Harrop says. “These have unique electronic identification and they record which pill was removed when, because 50 percent of patients take their medication incorrectly. Initially they are being used to improve drug trials such as the National Institute of Health trial of Azithromycin and a Novartis trial this year. We already have flexible, electroluminescent color displays from billboards to animated watch backgrounds.”
Details are available at www.printelec.com and at www.idtechex.com.