Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets has just released a new report, “Printed Gold: Gold Inks and Pastes Market – 2011.”

GLEN ALLEN, VA - Industry analyst firm NanoMarkets has just released a new report, “Printed Gold: Gold Inks and Pastes Market – 2011.” The report examines the market for gold inks and pastes in the electronics and solar industries. It discusses both the gold pastes used in traditional applications, such as wire bonding and brazing, and a new breed of inks-based gold nanoparticles. These next-generation inks are expected to find uses in MEMS, data storage and computer memory, “green” electronics, photovoltaics (PV), and sensors. NanoMarkets estimates that the total volume of gold consumed by gold inks and pastes for electronics and PV applications will reach 13.7 metric tons by 2016.

This report provides eight-year projections (both volume and value) of all major applications in which gold inks and pastes are, or will be, used. These projections also include a breakout by the kind of printing process used: jetting, screen or flexo/grave. The firms discussed in this report include Bellman-Melcor, Bosch, Brazetec, DuPont, Ercon, ESL Electroscience, Hitachi, IBM, Indium Corp., Johnson Matthey, Krohn, Samsung and Umicore. The report also includes an analysis of research taking place at major research centers.

Although the gold pastes market is mature, NanoMarkets sees an opportunity for nanopastes, which would serve traditional thick-film markets but could provide significantly lower processing costs. However, according to the report the main new business opportunities will come mainly from novel applications using nano-inks.

One of these opportunities may come from printing a thin layer of gold nanoparticles on optical disks, such as CDs and DVDs, which could greatly increase the amount of information being stored. Gold nanorods, in particular, have been noted as a material that can help provide new technology strategies for optical information storage.

A printed layer of gold nanoparticles may also help to boost the efficiency of solar panels. In this context, NanoMarkets notes, printing has taken on a growing role in PV in recent years. The report also notes that the market for gold inks and pastes will be driven not just by the rise of alternative energy sources but also by environmental regulation. For example, gold pastes will benefit commercially from the regulatory requirements for lead-free electronics that have gone into force in both Europe and the United States. In addition, there are increasing concerns by regulators with regard to nanosilver, and printed nanogold may serve as a good substitute in some applications.

Yet another opportunity for printed gold is in sensors. Gold is already a common material in sensors, although today it mostly plated. However, printing is becoming more established as a fabrication tool for making sensors, especially for large-area sensors, so there will be a fit for printed gold opportunities in the future.

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