Using technological entropy to identify technology life cycle

Deming Lin*, Wenbin Liu, Yinxin Guo, Martin Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Identification of technology life cycles(TLC) provides a crucial basis for managing national policy, regional planning, and enterprise investment. Thus, it is a significant challenge to determine the stages of TLC. To this end, an entropy-based indicator is proposed, as well as a quantitative method based on the S-curve of entropy is established to identify the stages of TLC. Furthermore, the effectiveness of the method is verified by the analogy of three typical cases (thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal displays, cathode ray tubes, and nano-biosensors). It is clear that the entropy calculation produces a sum of overall distributions for patent applications against the researchers in the field to be studied, which can be used to find out the stage changes of TLC, while the other analysis considers trends of many patent active measures such as patent applications and citations collectively, to figure out the changes. Thus, the former constructs an index that has clear meanings and then uses its characterization to identify the changes logically, while the latter can only try to identify them empirically often with no trivial difficulties as these trends are often inconsistent. Finally, three-dimensional (3D) printing is investigated as an empirical case study, which reveals that 3D printing is still in its growth stage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101137
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Informetrics
Issue number2
Early online date6 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions of the anonymous reviewers and the editors, who made significant contributions to this article. This work was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (20&ZD074).


  • Entropy
  • Technology life cycle
  • Technology evolution
  • Patent
  • 3D printing


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