Over doing the hype on plastic electronics

One of the most read stories on the Financial Times website is Plastic may spell the end of the silicon microchip. The article expands on the news this week that Plastic Logic, the Cambridge University spin-off, has won $100m in equity funding to build an e-book display factory in Germany. It’s brilliant news for Plastic Logic, and may herald the arrival of the technological basis for the next ‘killer app’ in the form of a lightweight, low power flexible display. But according to the FT story, developments at Plastic Logic are:

holding out the possibility that before long the electronic characteristics of the company’s plastic devices might not be too different from those of conventional silicon chips

I'm sure the silicon manufacturers are quaking in their boots. Or maybe they aren't. It'll be a long, long time before plastic substrates can match silicon. Even the much vaunted end to Moore's Law keeps getting put back a few years at a time, pushing back the time when plastic might take over. So expect circuits on plastic substrates to have niche applications in the next couple of decades, but don't over-hype the technology.

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