SmartKem announces new TFT fabrication facility to meet market demand for flexible semiconductors

SmartKem, a supplier of high performance semiconductor materials for the manufacture of truly flexible displays and electronics, has announced the opening of a new thin-film-transistor (TFT) fabrication and testing facility at the company’s Manchester site – doubling the size of the company.

The expansion is set to provide comprehensive support to product development agreements, allowing partners to rapidly develop market-driven, flexible TFT-based products for applications in the display, touchscreen and sensor industries.

Together with the company’s organic synthesis technology and material formulation laboratories the center will offer complete turn-key support for its ground-breaking tru-FLEX technology platform in the development of flexible electronics applications. This will provide partners with additional services across the value chain from material synthesises, formulation and validation of the technology in transistor, circuit or end product form.

The new facility offers TFT device modelling, device stack design and a complete TFT fabrication suite including coating and evaporation equipment as well as a comprehensive test suite for device and circuit characterization including a semi-automated probe station. This not only augments SmartKem’s internal development work, but offers its customers comprehensive support in the rapid development of market driven flexible TFT-based products for application to the display, touchscreen and sensor industry.

The expansion and significant capital investment follows the recent Series A funding from a syndicate of leading investors including Finance Wales, BASF Venture Capital, Entrepreneurs Fund and Octopus Investments. Together with the creation of this new device facility expansion, SmartKem will also be increasing the size of its team by 30 percent with new members joining the synthesis, formulations and device technology groups.

Steve Kelly, Chief Executive of SmartKem, commented: “We are delighted with the speed with which we’ve managed to turn around the installation and commissioning of the new device facility. This is the final piece of the development cycle to bring in-house and the timing could not be better. We are seeing positive traction in the market for flexible electronics across the board from our core market of flexible AMOLED and EPD backplane drivers as well as many new and exciting applications. With the combined market for flexible display and electronics set to top $50 billion in the next 5 years, we are in great shape to continue to supply SmartKem tru-FLEX into new products and satisfy the growing market demand.”

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