Special-Edition Viewpoints Address The Pandemic Crisis

In the wake of the covid-19 pandemic, pathways and opportunities in technology commercialization are undergoing dramatic transformation on many fronts. In an effort to address Explorer clients' urgent need to understand both the near- and longer-term impacts, we are providing a special set of analyses about the pandemic's impact on technology commercialization that will replace the standard May and June 2020 Viewpoints publications. (Read the full announcement about these special analyses.)

  • The May 2020 documents identify a wide range of key forces that will likely have a major influence on prospects for six consequential technology domains, imagining a plausible range of alternative outcomes that these forces could have during the coming five to ten years. These outcomes serve as building blocks for creating effective responses to the pandemic.
  • The June 2020 documents will provide a scenarios-based analysis for each of the six technology domains, with emphasis on how the key uncertain forces might interact and influence commercialization pathways in alternative postpandemic futures.

Because the developments we describe affect multiple technologies, we have organized our standard Technology Areas into six technology domains. We encourage clients to engage with all six special-edition Viewpoints to gain a broad view of potential changes and opportunities in technology commercialization. Please contact us if you do not already have access to all six technology domains, and we will be happy to provide you with the remaining articles in the collection.

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About This Technology

Most materials that have desirable electrical or electronic properties are metals or inorganic compounds such as copper, silver, gold, doped silicon, or indium tin oxide (tin-doped indium oxide). This Technology Map focuses on organic electronic materials: carbon-based chemicals and polymers that exhibit electrical conductivity, semiconductivity, electroluminescence, or photovoltaic properties. Examples of organic electronic materials include light-emitting small molecules and polymers, organic semiconductors, and conductive polymers.

Much of the interest in organic materials is due to a fairly mundane attribute: their potential for use in low-cost, high-volume manufacturing processes. Organic electronic materials play a key role in reducing production costs for flat-panel televisions, flexible displays, RFID tags, and other electronic devices. In addition, these materials offer design flexibility because of their compatibility with flexible and rigid substrates.

This technology has the potential for widespread application and could lead to ubiquitous, inexpensive—even disposable—electronic devices. Industry players include both large, diversified powerhouses of the materials and consumer-electronics industries and start-ups that focus on a single technology application. Current commercial products include OLED displays for smartphones all the way up to large-screen televisions, capacitors, electroluminescent lamps, and static-control coatings. Emerging end uses include solar cells, lighting, and printed RFID tags for logistics tracking and monitoring.