New materials winning Display Component of The Year 2023 Award
Merck announced on May 31 that the German tech giant had developed new barrier materials to substantially jack up the quality of cutting-edge OLED devices.
Free-form devices with fully flexible OLED displays have gained traction across the world as demonstrated by the popularity of foldable smartphones over the past few years.
To come up with high-quality OLEDs, which are very susceptible to degradation by moisture and oxygen, an encapsulation or barrier is indispensable.
Merck said its new barrier materials would ensure superior flexibility, higher reliability, and longer lifetime in rollable, stretchable, and foldable OLED displays.
In recognition of the breakthrough, SID gave the Display Component of The Year 2023 Award to Merck. The outfit is the world’s biggest display society.
“As a pioneer in display materials, we are committed to providing our customers with solutions that enable new form factors,” said Merck Executive Vice President Damien Tuleu, who leads the firm’s Display Solutions business unit at Electronics.
“As the most advanced thin-film deposition technology, our low-temperature ALD silicon materials offer highly improved barrier characteristics _ 100 times more effective than current solutions. And they come along with a thinner layer, too _ 20 times thinner than existing solutions. Ultimately, this means better conformability, flexibility, and durability than ever before.”
Challenges in flexible OLED industry
Flexible OLEDs are critical to enabling promising new applications beyond traditional displays, such as wearable, rollable displays, and biomedical devices.
However, repeated bending and stretching of flexible devices can cause display stress, leading to reduced performance and lifespan.
Against this backdrop, Merck has tried to address this challenge together with its partners in the display and equipment industry.
Leveraging decades of experience in developing encapsulation materials for the semiconductor industry, it created new barrier materials, which are processed via low-temperature Plasma Enhanced ALD technology for an improved thin film encapsulation.
“These new materials with improved barrier characteristics enable a longer lifetime of the OLED device and fulfills even harsh automotive requirements,” a Merck official said.
The company’s low-temperature ALD silicon materials were first introduced in 2022 for automotive OLED and are expected to become an enabling encapsulation technology for upcoming flexible IT OLED displays.
As new form factors enabled by OLED technology continue to penetrate the market, Merck has shown its commitment to the promising area.
The company invested €30 million, completing projects to expand OLED production capacity in Korea and China last year.
Its local OLED production is expected to give its Asia-based customers easier and faster access to OLED materials and a stable and more flexible supply chain.