More evidence that our industry is indeed gaining some nice momentum – BASF Venture Capital (along with two other investment groups) recently invested €1 million each into a UK technology company named SmartKem.
What does this mean exactly?
Well, simply put, it illustrates the growing confidence in the need for certain materials and technologies that are inherit within the virtual signage and interactive touch display sectors.
SmartKem’s main area of focus is on developing high performance, organic semiconductor ink. Suck ink is then used in the manufacturing of printed TFTs (thin film transistors.) The really neat thing is that TFTs drive some remarkably flexible electronic devices.
A fitting example if there ever was one – OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) displays, such as used in LG’s 18-inch flexible panels. These futuristic looking displays can be rolled up like a newspaper, all the while maintaining complete functionality.
SmartKem will be teaming up with BASF (chemical company), to further advance their research and development, in what they call “smart chemistry”, for the next generation of display technology and flexible circuits.
Current display technologies that rely on inorganic materials (such as silicon or metal oxide), require a substantially higher temperature to process than new organically composed materials. Traditional TFTs are processed onto glass and have serious limitations when the challenge of flexibility is introduced.
Some notable advantages of using organic based semi-conductor ink:
- TFTs (organic) are naturally more flexible.
- Lower temperatures are required for processing.
- Can be printed onto very thin plastics allowing for a much wider range in flexibility.
As we move forward, we will most likely see more and more companies, investing in technologies that support the interactive display and signage industries. SmartKem is currently positioned to launch an array of new semiconductor inks in the near future. Their business model focuses highly on offering proficiency in synthesis, molecular design, and application engineering.
These are some pretty cool times we’re living in from a technological standpoint – we here at Touch Kiosk Displays welcome these advancements, and look forward to witnessing, what the not so distant future holds for our emerging industry.