April 6, 2006 – Researchers at the Kanagawa Academy of Science and Technology have developed a new material for transparent thin-film electrodes that does not use indium, an increasingly rare and expensive component of thin-film displays, according to the Nikkei Business Daily.
The new ceramic material, composed of 95% titanium oxide and 5% niobium, is exposed to a laser which evaporates the surface, forming a thin film 100nm thick on a glass substrate placed above it. Heating the substrate to about 500 degrees Celsius in hydrogen further enhances the conductivity of the material, which demonstrated 80% transmittance of visible light and low electrical resistance of 0.001 ohm/cm3. The team ultimately aims to boost light transmittance to 90% and reduce electrical resistance by another order of magnitude to 0.0001 ohm.
Indium tin oxide, used as a transparent and conductive material in flat-panel displays, has seen prices shoot to about $900/kg, as much as 15x the prices from 2001. Prices are seen remaining at a premium due to increasing demand for flat-panel displays.