Irish nanotech player in US$1m Taiwan deal

31 May 2005

An Irish nanotechnology company that began life as a UCD campus company has enabled an LCD technology pioneer in Taiwan to become production-ready to mass produce nanochromic displays for under US$1m in less than six months. Dublin-based Ntera will strategically position the company to mass distribute its products to a variety of worldwide consumer and industrial markets.

Nanochromics technology combines superb optical performance and ink-on-paper readability with low power consumption, and overcomes the production environment and cost challenges posed by existing LCD, OLED and other display technologies.

“By way of example, nanochromics technology is an order of magnitude less sensitive to critical parameters in LCD manufacturing such as tight cell gap control, a traditionally yield impacting process step,” said Frank Tzeng, general manager of Taipei-based Mesostate Ltd.

“Moreover, the production technology is solution-processable, unlike OLEDs and hence does not incur the high capital costs. As one of the first companies in Taiwan to bring LCD to market and subsequently transfer the production to China, we are delighted to have successfully completed the new technology set-up in Taiwan. We are well on the way to simultaneously increasing volume and reducing cost at our facility to meet the burgeoning demand,” Tzeng said.

Nanochromics displays are ideal for use in a wide range of consumer-facing and industrial applications, from home automation (eg thermostats) to intelligent appliances and white goods; electronic textbooks to test kits (eg pregnancy, diabetes); car navigation systems to airplane cockpits and industrial controls.

“The real product differentiation offered by our display technology is driving huge demand from marquee consumer facing and industrial brand names as well as best-in-class small to medium product companies,” said Nick How, president, Ntera. “Because Ntera has successfully deployed an LCD-convergent manufacturing process, we can now quickly scale our production capacity in line with customer demand.”

Exactly a year ago, reported how Ntera secured US$9.5m in funding, bringing to US$30m the total raised by the company to date. The funding round was led by Doughty Hanson Technology Ventures, with existing shareholders also participating in the round.

By John Kennedy