Material Science Develops Its Own Blue Material for OLED

Oct 25, 2017

Blue material out of luminescent materials that make up OLED is a material that is very difficult to develop. While high-efficient phosphorescent materials are used for red and green materials, fluorescent material with low efficiency is used for blue material. On top of that, South Korean businesses cannot even enter markets for blue fluorescent material as Japanese businesses such as Idemitsu Kosan has built patent barrier really high. This is the reason why Samsung Display and LG Display are purchasing blue materials from Idemitsu Kosan.
A South Korean venture company has challenged these markets that are monopolized by Japanese businesses. This company is called ‘Material Science’ and it recently succeeded in developing blue ‘dopant’. Dopant is mixed with host within OLED and improves efficiency and lifespan of OLED. It is interesting to see how Material Science, which was established in 2014, was able to develop blue material that had been difficult to develop.
Material Science Develops New Synthesis Method
Japanese chemical company called Idemitsu Kosan is the most advanced company in a field of blue material for OLED. It has developed blue dopant since 2015 and currently holds at least 30 patents (based on patents applied in Japan) that are very broad. It made it difficult for new businesses to avoid its patents by setting up its patents on compounds that can be made with currently existing synthesis method. Based on these patents, it is selling blue dopant along with host and holds an unrivaled position in related markets.
Material Science even made layout of molecule different so that it is not affected by Idemitsu’s patents. While materials with high electronegativity are currently applied to molecules in order to obtain dark blue color, Material Science developed a new synthesis method that implements dark blue color even by introducing materials with low electronegativity. In other words, it developed new materials through a new synthesis method.
“Although it was very difficult to avoid Idemitsu’s patents because Idemitsu has patents on materials that can be made from current synthesis method, we have developed new compounds.” said CTO Oh Hyoung-yoon of Material Science. “We decided to introduce information on our development as our materials were recognized equally or even higher than other materials during performance evaluations done by panel manufacturers.”

A researcher of Material Science, which developed OLED materials with its own technologies, is removing solvent from a final compound and is concentrating it.  Staff Reporter Park, Jiho | jihopress@etnews.com <A researcher of Material Science, which developed OLED materials with its own technologies, is removing solvent from a final compound and is concentrating it. Staff Reporter Park, Jiho | jihopress@etnews.com>

Birth of South Korean OLED Material Manufacturer
Although Material Science is an unfamiliar business to people, it is already making considerable amount of results through its OLED materials. It already supplied HTL (Hole transport Layer) and ETL (Electron Transport Layer) to Chinese OLED panel manufacturers and it made $5.85 million (6.6 billion KRW) in sales in 2016 and is expecting to make $8.86 million (10 billion KRW) this year.
“When Material Science was established, there were only two OLED panel manufacturers in South Korea and they already had OLED material suppliers.” said CEO Lee Soon-chang of Material Science. “We focused on Chinese business in order to survive.”
Reason why Material Science is drawing so much attention is due to lack of OLED material manufacturers in South Korea. Most of OLED materials are produced by large corporations such as Samsung SDI, LG Chemicals, and Doosan. Because these corporations make partnership within groups, one has its subsidiary be in charge of manufacturing OLED materials. Although they emphasize that this is part of their strategies to internalize important materials, this kind of move weakens bases of industries which then leads to lowering of global competitive edge.
“Half of 50 or so employees and executives came from R&D background.” said CEO Lee. “Because they had experiences in developing displays in the past, they also contributed in developing materials.” CEO Lee also served as CEOs for display and semiconductor equipment manufacturers in the past. He established Material Science in order to develop OLED materials and gathered talented people.
Although Material Science developed blue dopant, amount of use of dopant within OLED is rather small. Due to this reason, it must develop blue host as well in order to secure business value. Material Science is also planning to develop blue host followed by blue dopant. It is hoping to become a leading OLED material manufacturer by supplying both dopant and host.
“Because there are many things that need to be improved for blue material, it is considered as ‘blue ocean’ with marketability.” said CEO Lee. “We are planning to develop blue host by early next year.”
Staff Reporter Yun, Keonil | benyun@etnews.com

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