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Smartkem announces technology collaboration with ITRI in Taiwan

Smartkem, the developer of a disruptive type of organic transistor that has the potential to drive a new generation of displays, has entered into a technology collaboration agreement with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan to enable product prototyping on ITRI’s equipment. This collaboration is part of Smartkem’s commercialisation strategy to allow global display manufacturers access to foundry services using Smartkem’s technology.

Smartkem’s organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) technology will be used on ITRI’s Gen 2.5 hybrid pilot line (substrate size: 370mmx470mm), with the aim to develop low-temperature processed display backplanes. This multi-year technology collaboration agreement is part of Smartkem’s commercialisation strategy to enable customers to prototype products on ITRI’s line using Smartkem’s OTFT technology before transferring to their own lines or subcontracting to a third party.

Acceleration of technology adoption

The development of this commercial manufacturing process has the potential to accelerate the adoption of Smartkem’s technology by display manufacturers in Taiwan and around the world, marking a significant step in enabling the manufacturing of commercially ready products using Smartkem’s OTFT technology.

Smartkem Chairman and CEO, Ian Jenks, comments, “We’re delighted to announce this collaboration with ITRI, a pioneer in the semiconductor industry that has nurtured many successful startups. This agreement will strengthen one of our three strategic pillars of materials, electronic design automation (EDA)tools and foundry services and is another step forward on the road to product commercialisation.

Access to foundry services

“If successful, the collaboration with ITRI will give our customers access to foundry services for prototyping before transferring manufacturing to their own lines or subcontracting to a third party for mass commercialisation. Coupled with best-in-class materials and EDA services through FlexiIC, the ITRI capability will allow customers to explore the potential of OTFT for new markets and product concepts.”

ITRI’s pilot line contains tools with a similar specification to display manufacturing lines and hence, once a process is established, it has the capability to deliver high-quality demonstrators and provides a very good indication of the potential to manufacture on similar-sized or larger production lines, many of which are situated in Taiwan. Once qualified on ITRI’s pilot line, the transition to manufacturing lines in Taiwan or other parts of Asia will be made much easier due to the reference process established at ITRI. Additionally, the support offered for technology transfer by ITRI and Smartkem’s Taiwan engineering staff will help to accelerate the commercialisation of Smartkem OTFT materials in the display industry. The ITRI pilot process once characterised will allow rapid prototyping of a wider range of devices such as touch sensors, biosensors, and logic circuitry in addition to the display products being developed in this first TCA (Technology Collaboration Agreement).



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