Surfaces to gain digital sensing


French plastic electronics developer Isorg is working with the UK's Plastic Logic to bring to market game-changing technology that embeds digital image sensing into a variety of products and surfaces, including portable electronics.
The collaboration, announced at this year's LOPE-C show in Munich, combines Isorg's organic large area image sensors printed on plastic with Plastic Logic's organic thin film transistor (OTFT) arrays to produce a flexible, robust high resolution image sensor. First mechanical samples were made available at LOPE-C.

When Plastic Logic began refocusing its energies on developing, with partners, new applications for flexible displays using its OTFT backplane technology Isorg was one of the companies it wanted to work with. Combining its organic photodetectors with TFTs opens up new applications for Isorg's technology, like digital image scanning.
Isorg co-founder Laurent Jamet elaborates: 'At the moment smart phones and tablets can be used to take pictures of documents with good results, but you could have a tablet or e-reader with a scanning surface that is easier to use and can scan documents or other objects in much higher resolution.'

Future plans
While Jamet agrees that the Plastic Logic partnership opens new doors for the company's technology, Isorg is making rapid progress in bringing its core technology to market since it was initially founded in 2010 as a spin-off of French R&D organisation CEA LITEN. In the coming months the company will begin shipping the first samples from its pilot line, installed at its headquarters in Grenoble in 2012, one of which is for an object recognition application for an industrial customer.

The company is expanding on several fronts. A mass production line is being installed in a new site in Grenoble in the spring of 2014 to be operational by the end of next year, while there are plans in the pipeline to open global offices in Hong Kong and in the US and increase staff hires. The mass production line will be able to produce plastic sensor foils up to 50 cm sq in size, what Jamet calls its third generation technology, in comparison to its first gen foils that are 32 by 38 cm in size.

For Plastic Logic, which had to optimize backplane design, production process and materials to create a flexible, transmissive backplane suitable for Isorg's requirements, the partnership represents a significant opportunity for the UK firm to move its unique flexible transistor technology beyond plastic displays.

Sara Ver-Bruggen - 05 July 2013