Flat Panel – Everybody in the display industry immediately thinks LCD when the name Merck comes up. Merck does much more than just LCDs, however, as the company is also involved in many aspects of display manufacturing, which gives the company a very clear feel on where the display industry may be heading.
So it makes people listen when one of Merck’s executives comes out and makes statements about various display technologies, such as quantum dots and OLED.
The managing director of Merck Korea, Michael Grund, stated in a recent news conference, that quantum dots are not a game changer in the display world and TV market in the same way that OLED could be. He cited cadmium in the quantum dots as one major hurdle for this display technology. Of course, there are already cadmium free quantum dots being announced, which would negate this particular argument of Grund’s.
Merck is also working on its own quantum dot technology, which it calls quantum rods, presumably without the use of cadmium.
His more profound argument is that OLED is starting its way in the display world and that OLED has the potential to define the display industry in the future. This is certainly true and is also reflected in the OLED application laboratory Merck operates in Seoul, South Korea. Nobody has ever argued about the potential of OLED for the display world, it has just been a very long journey from the early beginnings. With many analysts voicing great hopes that OLED will replace LCD as the main display technology in just a few years, this is a dream that has been shattered for quite some time now. This does not mean that it will never happen, it just may take longer than expected. With life time issues and production yield issues, OLED is experiencing the same hurdles that LCD had to face before it overtook CRT as the main display technology. – Norbert Hildebrand