UK company gets EU grant to take flexi display tech to Asia

SmartKem flexible display

A Manchester, UK company creating technologies for flexible displays has secured a €1.8million EU grant to support the industrialisation and technology transfer of its semiconductor platform to display makers in Asia. SmartKem will add €850k of its own funding for the €2.65million project, hoped to accelerate the adoption of organic semiconductors as a universal thin film transistor (TFT) backplane platform for the mass manufacture of flexible and curved mobile, embedded and large area OLED and LCD displays.

SmartKem’s technology truFlex enables the development of curved, foldable and even roll-able OLED and LCD displays. 

The company will lead the two-year project, which will focus on the industrialisation and transfer of its organic semiconductor platform over large area plastic substrates using standard slit coat processing. The main objective will be to maintain electrical and physical uniformity and quality of transistor performance over large area formats for mass production on existing production lines in Asia.

SmartKem has a number of commercial agreements in places with display OEMs and the project is hoped to forge a strong European position in the supply of specialised materials for this sector of the display industry in Asia. 

Dr Hugh Williamson, project lead and COO of SmartKem, said: “The resource and expertise required to transfer a new technology platform such as truFlex is a demanding and time consuming endeavour. This funding under a collaborative EU project will ensure access to the very best complementary expertise within Europe to significantly accelerate the pre-production and scale up of the technology to meet the high and immediate demand we are seeing in the OLED and LCD display industry in Asia for our materials.”

Steve Kelly, CEO of SmartKem, added: “The demand we are seeing for our technology emphasises the strength of the EU chemicals industry and the unique enabling nature of materials innovation in generating the growth of new markets such as the flexible display industry.”