Merck Leading Quantum Material Development Project for Lighting and Displays

Merck KGaA, a science and technology firm headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, launched a joint project along with partners in industry and science to conduct basic research about using quantum materials as light sources and display components.
The goal of the research is to deliver ultrapure colors and higher energy efficiency at lower production costs.

Merck KGaA reported that it is leading a collaborative project titled, “Exploration of quantum materials – New paths to realizing innovative optoelectronic components (ELQ-LED)”. The focus of the effort, which receives funding of € 5.5 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), is developing quantum materials for displays and lighting. The project’s total budget amounts to € 9.1 million.

Merck to Lead Basic Research for Futuring Lighting and Displays

Organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) offer extremely thin, and efficient designs that can produce high-quality images when applied to displays. The ELQ-LED project intends to further exploit the advantages of quantum materials as emitters. At the same time, the researchers hope to reduce production costs and optimize color spectra.

The researchers are calling the resulting component utilizing the quantum materials an electroluminescent quantum materials-based light-emitting diode (ELQ-LED). Quantum materials feature even greater color intensity than LEDs or even OLEDs. Particle size controls color intensity. The researchers are deliberately not using the toxic metal cadmium in the materials in order to preserve the safety of the components.

“ELQ-LEDs represent a systematic refinement of OLEDs and offer great potential for synergies between OLED and quantum materials,” says Michael Grund, Head of OLED and Quantum Materials at Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany.

In addition to Merck, Osram OLED, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research, the University of Augsburg, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, and Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg have are partnering along the organic electronics value chain to demonstrate the basic application of quantum materials in lighting.

In addition to conducting research on quantum materials, the partners intend to test and develop matrix and transport materials as well as components, processes, and inks following the overall approach. The project aim is to make all components completely printable to save resources during production. The partners are testing the printed parts in demonstrations of display and automotive tail lights. The three-year research project is scheduled to end in summer 2020.

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