Report Open Access

Organic electronics: benefits, barriers and opportunities

Stowell, Alison; Hardy, John; Cass, Noel; Stewart, Hilary

Subtitle: A violet biotechnology understanding of organic electronics with a focus on display technology.

In light of the continuing momentum behind the Circular Economy and Bio-economy agendas, organic electronics hold much promise in regards to future resource management. The materials used to create organic electronics could/can meet electrical product design requirements, replace the use of toxic materials, draw upon sustainable resources, have the potential to offer regenerative properties back to the earth upon disposal and at the same time support the strive towards a low carbon future.  The report documents an exploratory research project on the introduction of organic electronics into electronic and electrical equipment, funded by the Lancaster University Economic and Social Research Council Impact Acceleration Account Funds.  The research aims are highlighting ‘violet biotechnology’ (ethical, philosophical and legal), economic, environmental and societal themes that are seen as accompanying a shift from the existing electronics industry sector that utilises materials composed predominantly of inorganic materials. These topics might be perceived as benefits of the technology, barriers to its development, and implications for the sector and related areas, such as electronic waste. The grant supported a seven-month part-time project that examined the areas outlined, established links with industry partners, and undertook a literature analysis on the topic. The research objectives were intended to inform a future research-funding bid for a longer-term collaborative and interdisciplinary research project involving a variety of academic and industrial partners.


Acknowledgements: We would like to express our gratitude to Lancaster University ESRC IAA account for funding this research, and to everyone who took part in our exploratory research for providing us with invaluable insights. 

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