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Conductive Polymers for Touch Screen Technologies

Organic and printed electronics capture a market worth billions /// Heraeus Clevios introduces innovative conductive polymers at the LOPE-C trade show in Frankfurt at the end of June

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.

Large touch screens, an essential component of smart phones and tablet PCs, are taking over the world of electronics. © Heraeus

Heraeus Clevios develops conductive Polymers for the manufaturing of electroconductive films for flexible touch screens. © Heraeus

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."

Background: Conductive polymers

Heraeus is the world’s leading provider of conductive polymers for antistatic and conductive coatings. Heraeus uses its one-of-a-kind expertise to develop products for manufacturing capacitors, printed circuit boards, and coated conductive films under the Clevios™ brand. Clevios provides unique custom solutions for the solar, automotive, glass, optics, electronics, OLED, and display industries, thanks to a combination of high conductivity, transparency, and easy workability.

Heraeus, the precious metals and technology group headquartered in Hanau, Germany, is a global, family-owned company with 160 years of tradition. Our areas of expertise include precious metals, materials and technologies, sensors, biomaterials and medical products, as well as dental products, quartz glass and specialty light sources. With product revenues of €4.1 billion and precious metal trading revenues of €17.9 billion, as well as more than 12,900 employees in over 120 subsidiaries worldwide, Heraeus holds a leading position in its global markets.

For additional information, please contact:
Dr. Jörg Wetterau
Corporate Communications
Head of Technology Media & Innovation
Heraeus Holding GmbH
Heraeusstr. 12-14
63450 Hanau, Germany
Tel. +49 (0) 6181.35-5706
F +49(0) 6181.35-4242

Dr. Jörg Wetterau | Heraeus Holding GmbH
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