Tera-Barrier Films Receives Investment from Applied Materials

Published on August 25, 2009 at 12:21 AM

Tera-Barrier Films Pte. Ltd., a new spin-off from the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research's (A*STAR) Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), today announced that Applied Ventures, LLC, the venture capital arm of Applied Materials, Inc. has made a strategic investment in the company. The funds will be used for the development and manufacture of a new proprietary, moisture resistant film that can significantly extend the life span of devices such as organic solar cells and flexible displays.

Tera-Barrier Films was founded by two A*STAR IMRE's researchers, Dr. Mark Auch and Mr. Senthil Ramadas, who will serve as the company's CEO and CTO, respectively. The ultrahigh barrier film technology was successfully developed at IMRE and the barrier properties were validated by solar and flexible display manufacturers. Tera Barrier is still closely linked to IMRE as it operates under a laboratory-in-a-research institute scheme, allowing research continuity and the uninterrupted development of the films.

The new film protects the easily degraded moisture-sensitive organic materials of plastic devices and targets the burgeoning plastic electronics industry. Applications of the film include the manufacturing of flexible, lightweight and cheap electronics such as disposable or wrap-around displays, identification tags, low cost solar cells and chemical- and pressure-sensitive sensors.

“This investment is in line with Applied Materials' strategy to spur development of a broad range of products that not only serve customers' needs, but conserve the Earth's natural resources, and make alternative energy and environmental solutions more accessible and affordable,” said J. Christopher Moran, vice president and general manager of Applied Ventures. “We are pleased that our investment in Tera-Barrier will be used to support the commercialization of this breakthrough technology to enable a new generation of advanced devices.”

Tera-Barrier Films is a portfolio company of Exploit Technologies Pte. Ltd., the marketing and commercialization arm of A*STAR. Tera-Barrier has signed a license agreement with Exploit Technologies to obtain the rights to develop and market products using the breakthrough flexible substrate technology.

Mr. Boon Swan Foo, Executive Chairman of Exploit Technologies said, “We are encouraged to have attracted such interest from Applied Materials, a global leader in the field of nanomanufacturing technology solutions. This is a strong endorsement of A*STAR IMRE's technology and of Tera-Barrier Films's long term development and marketing plans; especially so in the current economic climate, where corporate investments have slowed down significantly. We believe this investment will move Tera-Barrier Films in the right market direction.

“Just as we have taken an active role since flexible film's early days to shape the business plan, raise funds and eventually start the company, we are looking forward to working with Applied Materials in continuing our efforts to grow the company. Exploit Technologies hopes to collaborate with more such committed industry players to bring a robust pipeline of A*STAR's technologies to market like flexible substrates, and support promising start-ups like Tera-Barrier Films.”

“The investment by Applied Ventures enables Tera-Barrier to move forward with commercialization plans into the flexible solar cells and printed electronics market”, comments Dr. Mark Auch, CEO of Tera-Barrier Films. “Tera-Barrier Films is in the process of securing product qualification and sample orders and has strong subcontract partnerships in place for scalable production of high performance barrier films. We are excited to be able to bring to market a key enabling product that could help promote faster growth in our target markets.”

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