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Merck introduces enhanced barrier materials for OLED

May 31, 2023 - 14:22 By Jo He-rim
Damien Tuleu (right), the head of Display Solution Business at Merck, poses during the Display Component of the Year 2023 Award that was hosted by the Society for Information Display in Los Angeles earlier this month. (Merck)

Merck said Wednesday it introduced new barrier materials that offer superior flexibility, higher reliability and longer lifespan in flexible OLED devices, when compared to existing solutions.

Fully flexible OLED displays utilized in foldable, rollable and stretchable devices require a reduction of about 60 percent of the display module’s thickness when compared to standard displays. But because OLEDs are highly susceptible to degradation by moisture and oxygen, an encapsulation or barrier is needed, Merck explained.

“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," Damien Tuleu, executive vice president and head of Display Solutions business unit at Merck Electronics said. ALD refers to atomic layer deposition.

"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.”

Tuleu added that the firm is committed to providing customers with solutions that enable new form factors.

The ALD material preventing damage for the rising flexible OLED displays won the Display Component of the Year 2023 award from Society of Information Display, the company said.

The performance and lifespan of flexible displays are reduced from repeated bending and stretching. So Merck said it collaborated with its partners in display and equipment industry to address the challenge.

The company said it created the new barrier materials, which are processed via low-temperature Plasma Enhanced ALD technology for an improved thin film encapsulation.

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, it added.

Under the commitment to meet the increasing demand for high-purity OLED materials, Merck has invested around 30 million euros ($32 million) to expand OLED production capacity in Korea and China in 2022.