Oxford Advanced Conductors

A low-cost alternative to transparent conductors for optoelectronic devices like displays, touch-screens and solar cells.

Background

All optoelectronic devices require the use of transparent conducting electrode materials in order to admit light into the active region as well as to collect charge. The cost and performance of transparent conductive films is a critical component of the total device. Indium tin oxide currently represents over 97% of the transparent conductive oxide market. However, due to the relative scarcity of indium metal, indium has a highly volatile price ranging between USD300 and USD1000 per kg within the last five years, and a stable supply of indium tin oxide may be difficult to sustain for an expanding market. Secondly, vacuum processing is required for deposition on substrates, creating major issues of cost and ease of processing for large-scale thin film fabrication.
Oxford Advanced Conductors (OxAC) will develop and commercialise the University’s developments in transparent conductive materials that not only reduce reliance on rare and expensive indium, but also allow use of more flexible, scalable solution phase processes. These exciting developments will be of interest to the touchscreen industry in particular, but will also apply to manufacturers of solar panels, displays and lighting.

Opportunity

Oxford Advanced Conductors technology offers a low cost alternative transparent conductor to the scarce and expensive indium tin oxide most commonly used. The technology is based upon doped zinc oxide and has been shown to provide excellent performance. The team recently won a £25K convertible loan under the Armourers and Brasiers’ Material’s Prize and will be used to build several device demonstrators. A new company, Oxford Advanced Conductors Ltd, is being set up.

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