Monthly Archives: August 2013

Rolith joins the ITO-replacement industry with its metal-mesh transparent conductor

August 13, 2013

As published in our recent “ITO-Replacement: Non-ITO Transparent Conductor Technologies, Supply Chain and Market Forecast” report, there are already 19 companies and research institutes  working on or shipping metal-mesh transparent conductors.

On August 12th, California-based start-up Rolith announced that it has successfully fabricated metal-mesh type transparent conductors using proprietary nanolithography technology. It claims to have fabricated metal mesh of sub-micron width, and can achieve high transparency (>94% transmission) with a very low haze (~2%) and low resistivity (<14 Ohm/☐).

Rolith was founded in 2008 by Dr. Boris Kobrin, Julian Zegelman, and Dr. Mark Brongersma. It received seed funding from Asahi Glass Corp in 2010 and has been developing nanolithography technology for “moth eye” structure for anti-reflection coating. Now, with the same technique and process, but changing the material to conductive ink and the mask pattern to grid pattern, Rolith is entering the ITO-replacement market.

Many characteristics need to be considered when comparing different types of ITO replacement. The figure shown below compares the conductivity and cost.

Figure: ITO-replacement material comparison:  conductivity and cost

ITO replacement compare with TDR

Source: Touch Display Research, ITO-replacement: non-ITO transparent conductor technologies, supply chain and market forecast report, May 2013 version.

Touch Display Research forecast the ITO-replacement market will grow from $206 million this year to $4 billion by 2020.

What are the challenges of Rolith’s technology? What are the advantages and disadvantages of metal mesh? More analysis can be found in our monthly Touch and Emerging Display Report.

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team


Taiwan touch manufacturers grasp new opportunities

August 8, 2013

(Editor’s note: Dr. Jennifer Colegrove will be traveling to Taipei, Taiwan later this month to speak at the International Display Manufacturing Conference (IDMC) and to visit TouchTaiwan 2013.)

“I am honored to be delivering a special forum at the conference, and eager to meet Taiwan’s touch screen manufacturers and emerging display manufacturers,” said Dr. Colegrove.

Jennifer will be speaking on August 28th, 13:20-13:45 at a special forum of the IDMC conference which is in conjunction with TouchTaiwan exhibition. Contact her by email:

 IDMC touchtaiwan


Taiwan is one of the most active regions in touch screen manufacturing. In 2006-2007, Apple’s iPhone brought revolutionary changes to the touch screen industry. Touch panel companies at the forefront such as TPK, Wintek, Youngfast, J-Touch rode the wave and grew rapidly.

Recently, display and touch screen integration have become necessary to reduce cost, weight, and thickness. This has led display manufacturers such as AUO, Innolux (used to be named ChiMei Innolux), and CPT to grasp an opportunity and supply the new devices.

In 2013 a wave of new opportunities and challenges are approaching. Touch Display Research analyzed the growth opportunities in:

  1. Large smart phone (>5”)
  2. Touch technology for notebook and all-in-one PCs
  3. ITO-replacement materials
  4. Multi-touch and simultaneous pen writing
  5. Touchless control

I am honored to be delivering a special forum at the conference and eager to meet Taiwan’s touch screen and display manufacturers.

Jennifer and team

Sony moving in the right direction: Emerging displays and touch playing a key role

August 5, 2013

Sony Corporation has lost money five years in a row. However, during both this May and August Sony announced good news: it swung back to a profit in its fiscal fourth quarter (FYQ4 ended on March 31st) and fiscal first quarter (FYQ1 ended on June 30th). The main contribution to this new profitability is “lifted by the first black ink in 3 years at its long-struggling TV business” as indicated by Wall Street Journal on August 1.

So far, I think the new CEO Kazuo Hirai is steering Sony in the right direction, and emerging display and touch technologies are playing a key role:

  • As we covered in the monthly “Touch and Emerging display report”, Sony has released several 4K TVs. Sony has adopted QD Vision’s quantum dots on some of its TVs for better color and lower power consumption.
  • Sony is still manufacturing AMOLED professional monitors and successfully selling these at high price, leading to profitability
  • Sony is planning a flexible e-Paper display (from E Ink) tablet with pen-writing function by end of this year.
  • Sony added more pen-writing notebook PCs.
  • Recently Sony has unveiled SmartWatch 2 with a larger 1.6” 220×176 touch display (the original SmartWatch has a 1.3” 128X128 OLED display).

Figure: Sony upcoming flexible display tablet with pen

E ink Sony Mobius

Photo by: Touch Display Research Inc.

Although a profitable quarter is good news, the profit of FYQ1 is only 3.5 billion Yen, a 0.2% profit margin. It is still left to be seen if Sony can maintain profitability the entire fiscal year.

Thanks for reading,

Jennifer and team