Thursday, May 11, 2006

Plastic Logic ready for large-scale fabrication

Cambridge University spinoff Plastic Logic Ltd. is considering locations for a large-scale fabrication facility for flexible active-matrix display backplanes based on polymer semiconductor materials.

Hermann Hauser, non-executive director of the company and founder and director of venture capital company Amadeus Capital Partners, told the International Semiconductor Executives Forum organized by the Fabless Semiconductor Association and the Institution of Engineering and Technology that plastic electronics for display purposes is "ready for prime time."

The technology would enable the creation of electronic books where the content is downloaded wirelessly and flexible electronic newspapers, he said.

Plastic Logic (Cambridge, England) has a roughly 12-inch diagonal display prototype working that combines an active plastic logic backplane with an electrophoretic display technology from E Ink (Cambridge, Mass.). The company announced a collaboration with E Ink in December 2004.

Hauser told his audience said that Plastic Logic is performing a detailed investigation of the costs of volume manufacturing of such active backplanes and that it seemed likely that the factory would cost between $50 million and $100 million and would be able to turn out millions of displays a year.

“We can build our first fab starting now for completion in about 18 months,” Hauser said. He said that after selection of a location, construction would begin in 2007 with a view to volume manufacturing in 2008.

Although the speed of performance of plastic electronics is limited the manufacturing approach could change the economics and scope of segments of the electronics industry. The processes under development are being optimized to scale to large area, high volume and low cost, Hauser said.

Beyond e-books and e-newspapers the technology would impact mobile phone accessory displays, RFID and sensor technology, Hauser said.

Via EETimes


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