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Organic image sensor start-up eyes mass production

23 Jul 2014

Grenoble-based ISORG has raised €6.4M in its latest round of venture finance.

ISORG, a 2010 spin-out from the CEA Liten Printed Electronics Laboratory in France, is set to expand operations and begin mass production of organic image sensors.

The Grenoble company, which is targeting healthcare, consumer electronics and industrial markets with its flexible, water-resistant devices, has just raised €6.4 million in Series A venture finance to support the expansion.

Investors in the latest round included Bpifrance, Sofimac Partners, CEA Investissement, Grenoble Angels and Savoie Angels, says the firm.

ISORG says that its technology can be used to convert plastic or glass into a “smart” surface, able to “see” and sense motion.

“ISORG has developed unique industrial know-how for large-area organic materials deposition at air-ambient and temperature-ambient conditions,” claims the company. “These new sensors are thin, light and conformable, offering unique benefits of cost, sensing area, mechanical integration and resistance to shock versus traditional image sensors.”

Specific target markets include X-ray digital imaging and displays, as well as biometric security and gesture recognition systems.

The company says that the new funds will enable it to scale up from its current pilot industrial line to mass production. It is planning to open a volume manufacturing unit next year, and also wants to develop the business internationally.

Jean-Yves Gomez, the firm’s CEO, said following the latest funding round: “We are very happy to be the pioneers of this new industry in France and to be supported by renowned investors who share our vision and ambition.”

Water resistance
According to a presentation at April’s Printed Electronics Europe conference, ISORG’s pilot plant in Grenoble is able to produce 320x380 mm sheets of organic sensors, which are deposited on PET plastic substrates.

The organic materials used are said to have a wide spectral response, high sensitivity and a good dynamic range, as well as the advantage of low power consumption. The technology is also said to operate effectively at very short distances, where CMOS cameras can struggle because of their need to focus light.

Another advantage over conventional electronics is the claimed water-resistant nature of the technology – as evidenced in a Youtube video posted by the company earlier this year (see below).

ISORG has been working closely with the pioneering UK-based plastic electronics firm Plastic Logic, the two collaborating on the development of a 96x96 pixel flexible sensor array just 150 µm thick.

The company believes that it will be able to exploit a fast-growing market for integrated and wearable sensors with its technology, including industrial applications where compatibility with robots and with users wearing gloves will be advantageous.

Integrating arrays of its detectors within display bezels could also transform conventional LCD screens into interactive devices, ISORG says.

Water resistance (ISORG corporate video):

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