Tag Archives: Flexible Electronics

First graphene-based flexible display produced

Scientists have long worked to harness the unusual properties of graphene, a two-dimensional sheet of carbon atoms. As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, it is believed to be the strongest, most lightweight and flexible material, and ultimately has the potential to revolutionize industries across the spectrum, from healthcare to electronics.


Now, it appears that developers are inching closer to a commercial breakthrough. A flexible display incorporating graphene in its pixels’ electronics has been successfully demonstrated by the Cambridge Graphene Centre and Plastic Logic, marking the very first time graphene has been used in a transistor-based flexible device. The project, which was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the EU’s Graphene Flagship, is just the first step towards a wider implementation of graphene-like materials into flexible electronics.

The prototype uses an electrophoretic film, which is similar to the screens used in today’s e-readers with the added benefit of being flexible. In future iterations of the device, the research team will look at using liquid crystal (LCD) and organic light emitting diodes (OLED) technology to produce color images.

“The new prototype is an active matrix electrophoretic display, similar to the screens used in today’s e-readers, except it is made of flexible plastic instead of glass. In contrast to conventional displays, the pixel electronics, or backplane, of this display includes a solution-processed graphene electrode, which replaces the sputtered metal electrode layer within Plastic Logic’s conventional devices, bringing product and process benefits,” the report adds.

The ultra-flexible graphene layer may enable a wide range of products, including bendable and foldable electronics. Graphene can also be processed from solution bringing inherent benefits of using more efficient printed and roll-to-roll manufacturing approaches. However, it still remains unclear as to when such displays will be used and in what devices.

“The potential of graphene is well-known, but industrial process engineering is now required to transition graphene from laboratories to industry,” explained Indro Mukerjee, CEO of Plastic Logic.


Report: A flexible future in store

Do you ever look at your mobile device and think it’s just too rigid? Do you wish your phone would rest ever so nicely in the palm of your hand, or even fit a bit better in that back pocket? Fortunately, a growing number of tech giants have and with that comes the next wave of mobile device innovation.

According to recent reports, it appears that the flexible electronic market is growing with demand on the rise. As previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, market research firm DisplaySearch has revealed that the share of flexible smartphones in the overall smartphone market is expected to reach 40% in 2018, up from merely 0.2% last year. In other words, it’s projected that four out of 10 smartphones will be flexible over the next couple of years. This should come with little surprise following recent analysts forecasting the flexible display market to surpass the $3.89 billion threshold by 2020 – growing at an impressively high CAGR from 2014 to 2020.


As seen in recent months, flexible electronic devices have started penetrating various markets, such as consumer electronics, medical and healthcare, and power and energy, automotive, and defense. Subsequently, the global flexible electronics market is expected to reach $13.23 billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 21.73%. In addition, the emerging consumer electronics market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 44.30% in the forecast period, with North America leading the pack, followed by Europe and APAC.

A new report from research firm IDTechEx has also detailed that the market for flexible OLED screens will rise to over $16 billion by the year 2020. Currently, new technologies — like smart watches and OLED TVs — are driving this uptick in consumer interest. The study projects that the OLED market will grow 43% by the year 2020, contingent upon the adoption of OLED technology by the general public. Whether these flexible screens are utilized on the newest smartphones, the technology needs to become the cultural norm if this new data is to ring true. Ferret notes that smart watches and fitness bands are currently driving the OLED market, but the relatively small screen size on these devices will not create the projected profit margins that the report detailed.

Still, when looking at the possibilities of flexible OLED screens, there seems to be no limit to their application. The ridged nature of current screens has restrained the creativity of technology developers over the last century; however, with the influx of flexible screens and products, it will be surely be interesting to see what comes next. Time will only tell, but we’re certainly inching closer to the day where users will be able to fold their devices.