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High-performance TFT backplanes printed at 80C and patterned using existing LCD equipment?

It is incredible to see the progress that organic semiconductors (OSC) have made over the past 15-20 years. Ian Jenks, CEO of SmartKem, Inc.- a leader in the field- explains in this short 5-min presentation how they are removing the long-existing barriers to adoption of OTFT technology. These are hard-won crucial and essential development steps to ensure commercial success, as technical progress alone in terms of mobility or stability will never suffice.

1- EDA tools: They have designed EDA tools enabling design and simulation of circuits using their OTFT circuits. This is an essential prerequisite for adoption which had been previously missing

2- Full portfolio of TFT materials: TFT is not just the semiconducting layer. All materials in a TFT stack must work together in an optimized way. Some 50M and ten years have been spent to develop a full portfolio of materials required to make an OTFT together with processing parameters including passivation layers, sputter resistant layer, base layer gate insulator, etc. This is incredibly important because all materials must work together and ensure compatibility with existing production processes.

3- Compatibility with existing processes: One can not expect display makers to reinvent the wheel and to adopt not just a new material but also a new process. Thus compatibility with existing processes is an absolute must-have. Smartkem has ensured that one can make OTFT backplane using its material set based on existing LCD equipment

4- Commercial partnerships across various display technologies: They have announced partnerships on AMOLED, QD-LCD displays, and mini-LED with RiT Display, Nanosys, and an unnamed Taiwanese player, respectively. This way they are covering multiple technology areas, and not chasing only a single target market. In the past, this error proved costly as most in the past banked on e-papers alone for OTFTs.

It is a delight for us to see the progress of OTFT technology. The barriers to adoption are being cleared away. In the end, this technology proposes to offer the lowest processing cost for good enough displays, a prerequisite for the ubiquitous adoption of the emerging metaverse!


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