28/06/2011

Conductive Polymers for Touch Screen Technologies

A light touch with your finger opens up a new menu as if by magic, and you can browse with a quick tap of the screen. Large touch screens, an essential component of smart phones and tablet PCs, are taking over the world of electronics and replacing traditional keys and buttons.

These intuitive user interfaces are based on innovative, printable microelectronics on highly flexible thin films with conductive coatings. Heraeus Clevios, which became the newest member of the Heraeus Group in December 2010, provides intermediate products for these films in the form of conductive polymers. The company is presenting the latest developments in the field of conductive polymer coatings from June 28-30 at the LOPE-C Large-area Organic and Printed Electronics Convention at Frankfurt's convention center. LOPE-C is a forum for advances in organic displays (OLED) and organic photovoltaics, printed RFID tags for smart packaging of goods in integrated supply chains, functionalized textiles, and many other cutting-edge applications.

Organic electronics capture a market worth billions

Conductive polymers are used for anti-static purposes, as electrodes and functional coatings in liquid crystal displays and OLED displays, as well as in organic photovoltaics. The global industry association OE-A (Organic Electronics Association) estimates that organic and printed electronics constitute a market worth billions with the long-term potential to complement traditional electronics with new technologies and applications.

"The touch screen market, in particular, is likely to develop a great deal, because half of all mobile data devices should have touch capabilities by 2014," says Dr. Stephan Kirchmeyer, head of conductive polymer technology at Heraeus Clevios. He will present an innovation at LOPE-C: "A breakthrough has been achieved in the structuring of conductive polymers, which will replace limited-availability indium-tin oxide in touch screens in some cases. Partially etched layers had an irregular visual effect due to a slight difference in color. An etching technology developed by Heraeus Clevios now deactivates the conductive polymer instead of removing it. This results in conductive structures that are completely invisible to the eye. This homogeneous visual appearance is essential for modern touch sensors."

Source: Heraeus