Dedicated OTFT line is a breakthrough moment for display industry according to SmartKem


SmartKem, a leader in the design, synthesis and supply of high performance organic semiconductors and organic thin film transistor (OTFT) technology, has hailed the decision by one of the world’s largest display manufacturers to create a dedicated Gen 3.5 OTFT backplane production line as a landmark moment for the semiconductor industry.

Steve Marsh, chief business officer at SmartKem, said the move signified recognition of the value that OTFTs offer at a time when the display industry is desperate to bring new differentiated products to market. Once commissioned, the new OTFT production line is expected to initially focus on all-plastic, lightweight ePaper based displays but could easily transition to the manufacture of OTFT backplanes for LC (Liquid Crystal) and OLED (organic light emitting diode) based displays.

Dr Mike Cowin, chief marketing officer at SmartKem, said: “The launch of this dedicated line is a significant acknowledgement of the commercial traction that OTFT backplane technology has gained within the display industry and is recognition of the advances made in the industrialisation of the technology platform. It’s clear the advantages of OTFT based LC and OLED displays is now driving industry adoption towards scaled commercial production. “The world of displays is changing and the rapidly emerging drive for new and innovative display products that offer an uplift in user experience are of great value.

“OTFTs, based on state-of-the-art semiconductors, can now enable displays with ground-breaking advantages of being thinner, lighter and stronger than today’s displays. Add to the mix the fact that OTFTs enable the production of the lowest power consumption displays on the market doubling the battery life of wearable and smartphone devices, the case for adoption is undeniable. This offers a route to a real uplift in the user experience, with more ergonomically designed, energy efficient display based products.” 

Thin film transistor arrays are an integral part of the latest modern day displays with an ‘active matrix’ of TFT circuits driving the millions of pixels in each display. They have a significant influence on the electrical and physical performance of the display.

SmartKem’s semiconductor platform called truFLEX offers the display industry a thin film transistor platform with world-leading electrical performance, compatibility with any display frontplane type and unbeatable form factor advantages.

Now under adoption in display plants in Asia, truFLEX’s low temperature production process is now making the transition to industry-grade production lines for the pre-production of a new generation of displays on both glass and plastic. The potential added value that this new technology offers covers a vast range of applications on a global scale; encompassing wearable, mobile and embedded displays – all incorporated into a myriad of new product form factors.

SmartKem, which is headquartered in St Asaph, Wales, is currently partnering with three display manufacturing partners in Asia to adopt and commercialise its truFLEX OTFT technology. Cowin added: “truFLEX is changing the way the display industry is thinking – the world of displays is no longer power hungry and heavy but power efficient, thin and lightweight. We have developed a technology that enables differentiation and significant uplift in the user experience for existing and new display applications.”

Caption: Steve Marsh, chief business officer at SmartKem (photo: SmartKem)

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