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27/11/2014

SmartKem Announces Significant Expansion to Meet Market Demand for Flexible Semiconductors

Company perfectly positioned to take advantage of $50 billion market with investment in new flexible transistor fabrication and test facility

SmartKem, the leading 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 efficiently develop market-driven, flexible TFT-based products for applications in the display, touchscreen and sensor industries – a market expected to be worth $50 billion by 2019.

The 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. Further investment is expected to develop the tru-FLEX™ semiconductor technology to the point of market-readiness, to scale-up and support current and future partner programmes which are key to the technology’s commercialisation.

The new centre, which accompanies the company’s organic synthesis technology and material formulation laboratories, 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, a complete TFT fabrication suite including coating and evaporation equipment, as well as a comprehensive test suite for device and circuit characterisation including a semi-automated probe station.

This not only augments SmartKem’s internal development work but importantly 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.

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.”

For further information on SmartKem and their range of organic semiconductors for flexible electronic applications, please visit http://bit.ly/13D4amC.