Report predicts growth of printed sensors

16 October 2014

Printed and flexible sensors 2014-2024, Dr Guillaume Chansin identifies new materials to drive the market.

The market for printed sensors is predicted to increase by more than $1billion by 2020 with printed and flexible sensors playing an increasingly important role.

While the biggest market is currently glucose sensors used by diabetics, other types of printed sensors are emerging. Sensors in general have a much simpler structure than displays or logic circuits. The technology barrier against commercialisation is therefore less steep compared to many other printed electronics applications. This report by IDTechEx covers biosensors, capacitive sensors (not including touchscreens), piezoresistive and piezoelectric (pressure, force, or strain) sensors, photoelectric (photodetectors, hybrid CMOS image sensors and digital X-ray sensors), temperature sensors and gas sensors.

Printed and flexible sensors were valued at $6.3 billion in 2013. The biggest market is currently biosensors, such as  disposable glucose test strips.  However, by 2024 emerging applications will take a significant share of the total printed sensor market. The analyst expects new hybrid CMOS image sensors to become the second largest market, with organic or quantum dot semiconductors replacing silicon as the photosensitive material in several applications.

Piezoresistive sensing is already an established market, led by consumer electronics and healthcare. The next five years will see automotive take a larger share, outgrowing healthcare. The piezoresistive sensor market is set to triple by 2018, corresponding to a 23% CAGR. Photodetectors, temperature sensors or gas sensors are emerging but they promise better performances, new form factors and ease of customisation.

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