Company to mass-produce plastic semiconductors

Seven years ago, a Cambridge, U.K.-based startup known as Plastic Logic announced plans to develop semiconductors based not on silicon wafers but on a plastic substrate called polyethylene terephthalate. As the Financial Times reports, the start-up has now secured funding of no less than $100 million to build a fabrication plant in Dresden, Germany where it can mass-produce plastic semiconductors. The fab will employ 140 people and is scheduled to start operating by the end of next year.

At first, the fab will produce flexible plastic displays. However, Plastic Logic’s CEO says his company is also cooking up 60nm plastic circuits that may not be too different from current silicon chips—except for the fact that they’d be a lot cheaper to produce. Interestingly, Plastic Logic’s latest press release lists Intel Capital, Intel’s venture capital arm, as one of the investors that contributed to the $100 million funding.

Comments closed
    • sluggo
    • 13 years ago

    Anyone want to take a guess at what a 60nM fab is going to cost to build? I have to believe it’s going to very significantly cheaper than a silicon-based fab. Granted, it’s only 5uM now, but if you can build the entire process from scratch, the first time, for only $100M .. it’s got to be a good sign.

      • Shintai
      • 13 years ago

      They gonna have 140 people and that aint much. Seems to be more like a testlab/minifab.

        • moose17145
        • 13 years ago

        i was thinking the same thing. Usually intels fabs employ thousands don’t they?

          • Shintai
          • 13 years ago

          Yep, also im sure the 140 also count the receptionist(s) and the cook in the kitchen and managers and so on.

          I wold guess AMD and Intel got somewhere between 2500 to 5000 per fab, depending on size.

            • sluggo
            • 13 years ago

            Could well be a “mini” fab, but they are planning on quantities of 200k/month out of it. That’s nowhere near what LG, etc, are turning out in main panel fabs, but it’s certainly more than a prototype facility. My guess is it’s a facility designed to debug processes and prove scalability, probably with a final production cell that that they hope to replicate for higher volumes. If so, follow-on cells will be considerably less. Granted, it’s an optimistic point of view, but I think the assumptions hold up.

    • ludi
    • 13 years ago

    Mr. McGuire: I want to say one word to you. Just one word.
    Benjamin: Yes, sir.
    Mr. McGuire: Are you listening?
    Benjamin: Yes, I am.
    Mr. McGuire: Plastics.

    • FubbHead
    • 13 years ago

    I wonder if this is a step towards optic semiconductors….somehow…I dunno how… 🙂

    • IntelMole
    • 13 years ago

    This is all about the cheap. So expect even crappier electronics in your stuff now.

    • Corrado
    • 13 years ago

    I think a lot of you guys are thinking of normal ABS plastic. There are LOTS of different kinds of plastic, and some can with stand very high temperatures.

    • ripfire
    • 13 years ago

    I’m more interested with the plastic displays than the circuit itself.

    • Hattig
    • 13 years ago

    Interesting stuff for sure. I wonder how hot the plastic semiconductors can get in use though … might be great for low-power flexible things though.

    and 60nm in such a young technology already…

    • poulpy
    • 13 years ago

    Brothers could we gather, hold hands and have a minute of silence in the name of Proesterchen’s suffering.

    Although he made -abundantly- clear his feelings regarding this issue there is yet another fab to settle down in Dresden which will undoubtedly be stealing EU/Germany/his money using dirty tricks a la AMD (no tax/tax refund, free electricity/water/gaz, free parking and last but not least free beer!).

    Wish you all the best, don’t give up!

      • Shintai
      • 13 years ago

      You need to get out more and meet people when you can spend your entire post on throwing mud and troll on another person.

      Also it says investment. Not goverment funding.

        • poulpy
        • 13 years ago

        My life is fine thanks*, but you may want to check for a “sense of humor” next time you go to the supermarket, very handy.

        *for I am not a fanboy nor hardcore geek, no offence

    • Lord.Blue
    • 13 years ago

    I wonder if AMD could make a plastic Geode…you know, to experiment with the process.

    • liquidsquid
    • 13 years ago

    This will bring meltdown to a whole new meaning. Interesting for sure, will watch this closely, though it is really in its infancy.

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