LG Chem acquires DuPont's technology to produce soluble OLED material

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2019-04-02 10:52 Updated : 2019-04-02 11:15
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SEOUL -- LG Chem, a petrochemical and battery-making arm of South Korea's LG Group, agreed to acquire DuPont's technical assets related to soluble organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), a core platform for next-generation displays. The deal came a day after the South Korean company set up a new business division to produce high-tech materials.

Soluble OLED displays use the method of placing a solution type material placed on a panel using inkjet printing technology that can maximize the color recall ratio while minimizing material loss. DuPont has developed innovative solutions to improve display performance.

LG Chem said Tuesday that it could acquire all key technologies related to soluble OLED materials through the acquisition of DuPont's patented intangible assets and tangible assets including research and production facilities. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the two companies agreed to establish various cooperation systems in the field of high-tech materials.

"With this (technology) acquisition, we will have the world's best competitiveness in the field of soluble OLED materials," LG Chem's vice chairman Shin Hak-cheol said.

Currently, OLED displays are manufactured using the vacuum thermal evaporation method, which applies high pressure and heat into a vacuum chamber to meld organic materials onto display panels. OLED display makers favor the vacuum method because of the uniformity of layers of organic materials melded onto display panels.

While the vacuum method allows panel makers to apply organic materials evenly in nanometer thickness, it is hard for the current soluble OLED method to maintain the uniformity of the thickness of organic materials on display panels because the thickness could vary depending on how the OLED solution is applied and how it dries. Also, because OLED panels need to have multi-layers of organic materials, it takes longer for soluble OLED methods to repeat the process of spraying and drying over and over again.

On Monday, LG Chem carried a structural change to set up a new division which would focus on the development and production of advanced materials. "Due to the effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, constant innovation is needed in the field of materials, which is another opportunity for growth," Shin said, vowing to nurture high-tech materials as the company's third growth engine with petrochemicals and batteries