Amadeus Capital Partners has led a £1.75 million start-up investment in Plastic Logic Ltd, a Cambridge-based company developing a new type of plastic circuit to supersede silicon circuits in mass applications, such as mobile phone screens and for large displays. The investment will enable Plastic Logic to develop its proprietary technologies into an integrated components solution, which will then be commercialised in partnership with a major corporate user. Discussions with potential partners are already under way. Other investors include CRIL (Cambridge Research and Innovation Limited) and Dow Ventures. 

Transistors used in semiconductors are traditionally made from silicon, which is brittle and inflexible. Silicon chip production is generally a complex and capital intensive process. Plastic Logic has developed a method of printing plastic on to a polymer substrate, making this plastic transistor cheaper and more flexible. Instead of hard chips, as at present, plastic chips will be printed on to rolls of film that can be applied to anything from clothing or round the tops of bottles to large displays.

Use of chips will no longer be constrained by size, cost or by the need to be flat. This technology opens up a vast range of new surfaces on or into which electronic devices can be implanted. The process developed by Plastic Logic is protected by a number of patents. 

Plastic Logic is led by two pre-eminent figures in polymer electronics research, Professor Richard Friend and Dr Henning Sirringhaus. Professor Friend, of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge University, was a co-founder of Cambridge Display Technology Ltd. Dr Sirringhaus, a lecturer at the Cavendish Laboratory, is known for his research in silicon electronics at Princeton University. Amadeus has recently recruited Stuart Evans as CEO and is helping recruit additional management to drive the company’s development. Mr Evans’ career includes work with IBM and McKinsey as well as over 15 years’ experience in UK and US hi-tech start-ups, including AMTECH Corporation and ESG.  

Commenting on the investment, Amadeus Capital’s Hermann Hauser says: “This is a company with truly disruptive technology that could help create huge new markets of ‘things that think’. The team is led by an experienced entrepreneur and by the leading lights in polymer electronics. We shall work with the company to bring its processes to market as rapidly as possible.”