Samsung and LG Scale up QLED Display Research

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Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG are raising R&D investments in developing QLED displays, reported The Korea Times.

Samsung Electronics organized a unit dedicated to developing QLED TVs on Tuesday, which is likely to be headed by Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) Senior Vice President Chang Hyuk.

The focus on accelerating introduction of QLED TVs and overcoming technological complexities by Samsung aims to takeover LG Electronics OLED TVs, and the company holds about 22% market share of the global TV market. The early launch of QLED TVs is projected to expand the company’s market presence.

As Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and semiconductor business division chief Kwon Oh-hyun takes on multiple roles as Samsung Display CEO in April, it has been expected that Samsung will need to restructure its display business so it can compensate the LCD sector’s plummeting profitability.

"The company needed a dedicated body to speed up the development of QLED technologies and apply them to more diverse items such as semiconductors and bio products because the research and development of quantum-dot (QD) technologies have been ambiguously run by Samsung Electronics' visual display division and SAIT," an industry source said.

Quantum dots used in QLED displays are inorganic fine particles smaller than 10 nanometers that is capable of generating light without backlight similar to OLEDs, and is expected to become the mainstream of future display technologies because QLEDs displays are less costly to produce than OLEDs, and offer better reliability.

Display industry experts noted, though, marketable QLED technologies still have a long way to go because of the hazardous cadmium materials used in the particles, and the technology is still immature.

"To realize QLED, QD materials should be able to generate light by itself through ultraviolet ray or extra voltage. But this problem has not been solved yet in the academia," said Hyeon Teag-hwan, Seoul National University chemical and biological engineering professor and the organizing committee head of the International Conference on Quantum Dots, in May. "Semiconductor and chemical researchers have much to do to in the development of QD technologies like chemical synthesis using surfactants."

However, it could be possible for Samsung to develop a cadmium free QD for QLED TVs in the next five years, and for it to push for an aggressive group-wise effort to develop QLED technologies, said Lee Chang-hee, an electrical engineering and computer science professor at Seoul National University.

Meanwhile, LG Display is expanding its cooperation with global leading QD material manufacturers Nanoco, Nanosys and QD Vision, to accumulate the technological know-how in the QLED sector, which is expected to become a key display technology in the future beyond OLED. Under the partnership, LG Display

Moreover, LG Display has expanded cooperation with the world’s leading QD materials businesses including Nanoco, Nanosys and QD Vision, aiming to acquire technological know-how in the QLED sector, which expects to be a key display technology of the future beyond OLED. LG Display has developed QD sheets under the partnership, which is used for LCD-based QD TVs.

The LG group has launched a project to increase cooperation between affiliates including LG Electronics, LG Display and LG Innotek to research QD materials and Q LED TVs.

"While the company is pushing OLED TVs now, we are also looking into QLED technologies in a long-term perspective," a source at LG Display said. "But we still think that QLED is a distant concept and not to be realized and commercialized for TVs as of now."

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