Cambridge Innovation and Knowledge Centre (CIKC)

Cambridge Innovation and Knowledge Centre (CIKC) – Advanced Manufacturing Technologies for Photonics and Electronics is a centre of excellence for low temperature processing based at the University of Cambridge. Initially funded by a 5-year, £6.65 million EPSRC grant, CIKC was formed in 2007 bringing together multidisciplinary research at the Electrical Engineering Division and the Department of Physics’ Cavendish Laboratory with the commercialisation expertise of the Judge Business School, the Institute for Manufacturing and the Centre for Business Research to accelerate the commercial exploitation of emerging science and technology in flexible and distributed electronics in partnership with industry.

The Centre develops novel fabrication techniques using macromolecular materials, such as polymers, liquid crystals and nanostructures, for applications in computer technologies, displays and communication systems. During the EPSRC funding period, CIKC invested in a portfolio of 6 device technology platforms from which 42 commercially focussed projects were developed in cooperation with 81 industry partners, leveraging a further £19 million of research income. This facilitated the formation of four start-up companies and generated 23 patent applications and several licensing agreements. CIKC has also played a role in policy initiatives, such as the formation of Catapult Centres, aimed at ensuring the UK effectively exploits its world-leading research.

CIKC’s technology portfolio includes:

  • Scalable manufacturing processes for the next generation of organic transistor circuits using self-aligned inkjet printing
  • Transparent microelectronics using low temperature deposition processes for transparent conducting oxides on flexible substrates
  • Roll-to-roll printing processes for the manufacture of organic photovoltaic (OPV) devices on flexible substrates
  • Large area, low power reflective displays using bistable Smectic A liquid crystal materials laminated between plastic substrates
  • Environmentally stable low-cost polymer interconnects for optical data transmission on PC boards
  • Fabrication processes for liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) devices for phase-only holography with applications in video projection and telecommunications

Following the completion of EPSRC funding, CIKC continues to facilitate the commercial exploitation of its device technology portfolio and of new research at the University of Cambridge in its field. CIKC supports the development and commercialisation of organic and large-area electronics through its role in the EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Large-Area Electronics, as part of the European COLAE network and by facilitating the Cambridge large-area electronics cluster involving 23 companies from the region.

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