Nanoident Technologies opened a new fab in Linz, Austria, for the production of "organic" semiconductors. The company says the fab has a production capacity of 40,000 square meters of semiconductors a year.
But these won't be just any semiconductors—the chips are made by spraying patterns of ink onto thin polymer layers, inkjet printer style. "Printed semiconductor-based optoelectronic devices created by the OFAB will usher in an era of new application types—traditionally not well-suited for silicon—which will improve healthcare, enhance personal and homeland security, as well as drive new industrial applications. These applications are just the beginning, as we look forward to driving continued advancements for printed devices that will enhance peoples' lives," said Nanoident CEO Klaus Schroeter in a statement.
These organic semiconductors degrade over time and cannot function at the same speeds of normal semiconductors. The printers used cannot etch patterns as small and intricate as the chips' silicon counterparts, as they are limited to roughly 10 microns compared to 65nm on a normal chip. Instead, their primary focus will be for less speed-dependent, single-use purposes. For example, a manufacturer could embed an organic semiconductor into a blood sample analyzer or water purity test, and those are the kinds of partnerships that Nanoident hopes to make with their lower-cost chips.