Title: OLEDs AND E-PAPER. Disruptive Potential for the European Display Industry
Authors: FORGE SimonBLACKMAN Colin
Editors: LINDMARK Sven
Publisher: European Commission
Publication Year: 2009
JRC N°: JRC51739
ISBN: 978-92-79-13421-0
ISSN: 1018-5593
Other Identifiers: EUR 23989 EN
URI: http://ipts.jrc.ec.europa.eu/publications/pub.cfm?id=2720
DOI: 10.2791/28548
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: DG ENTR and JRC/IPTS of the European Commission have launched a series of studies to analyse prospects of success for European ICT industries with respect to emerging technologies. This report concerns display technologies (Organic Light Emitting Diodes and Electronic Paper - or OLEDs and e-paper for short). It assesses whether these technologies could be disruptive, and how well placed EU firms would be to take advantage of this disruption In general, displays are an increasingly important segment of the ICT sector. Since the 1990s and following the introduction of flat panel displays (FPDs), the global display industry has grown dramatically. The market is now (2009) worth about ¿ 100 billion. Geo-politically, the industry is dominated by Asian suppliers, with European companies relegated to a few vertical niches and parts of the value chain (e.g. research, supply of material and equipment). However, a number of new technologies are entering the market, e.g. OLEDs and electronic paper. Such emerging technologies may provide an opportunity for European enterprises to (re-)enter or strengthen their competitive position. OLEDs are composed of polymers that emit light when a current is passed through them. E-paper, on the other hand, is a portable, reusable storage and display medium, typically thin and flexible. Both OLEDs and e-paper have the potential to disrupt the existing displays market, but it is still too soon to say with certainty whether this will occur and when. Success for OLEDs depends on two key technical advances: first, the operating lifetime, and second, the production process. E-paper has a highly disruptive potential since it opens the door to new applications, largely text-based, not just in ICTs but also in consumer goods, pictures and advertising that could use its key properties. It could also displace display technologies that offer text-reading functions in ICT terminals such as tablet notebooks. There are three discrete segments in the OLED value chain where any discontinuity could offer EU firms the opportunity to play a more significant part in the displays sector: (1) original R&D and IPR for devices and for the manufacturing process and material supply/verification; (2) bulk materials for manufacture and glass; and (3) process equipment:. For the e-paper value chain, we can see that the entry of EU suppliers is perhaps possible across more value chain segments than for OLEDs. Apart from the ones mentioned for OLEDs, there are opportunities to enter into complete devices and content provision. In terms of vertical segments, the point of entry in OLED FPDs for Europe is most likely to be in the mass production of smaller FPDs for mobile handsets. In conclusion, OLEDs and e-paper have the potential to disrupt current displays market and in so doing they may enable EU companies to enter at selected points in the value chain to compete with the Asian ICT industry.
JRC Directorate:Growth and Innovation

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