A purchase completed by LG's chemical and materials division LG Chem could pave the way to cheaper, higher-quality OLED televisions, based on reports out of the company's home region. The unit recently acquired a series of no few than 540 patented assets from Delaware-headquartered DuPont mostly pertaining to 'soluble' organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) and plans to develop that technology into its next-gen displays.
Specifics about the total cost of the deal has not been revealed by the companies but the acquisition is thought to be valued at around $175.9 million according to unnamed industry insiders.
The purchase included additional assets too, such as foundational technologies related to soluble OLEDs and associated physical resources such as production facilities. That means the company should be able to start working with the materials much more quickly than if it were to start from the ground up. LG notes that the deal ensures it is the most competitive company in the world in terms of soluble OLEDs.
Not quite the same as printing a document
Soluble OLEDs are exactly what the name implies. Summarily, the methods within associated patents allow the materials comprising the OLEDs themselves to be dissolved into a solution that can be placed in a display panel using inkjet technology.
That's not quite the same technology used in an inkjet desktop printer but is close enough for some comparison to be made. Namely, it's built on technology that utilizes droplets of a material deposited onto another material.
In the case of documents, inkjet centers around ink droplets being pushed to paper but the same method can be used for a variety of electronics. The process is more efficient than current OLED production methods, largely centered around applying pressure to materials via vacuum and adding heat to blend things together. Through the use of soluble OLEDs, less material is wasted.
A better, cheaper OLED television
LG hopes to use its acquisition as part of a larger effort to generate a ready supply of displays built using soluble OLEDs but the purchase could also be widely beneficial for consumers.
Not only will less waste and the generation of more demand likely lower the overall cost of OLED televisions as efficiency increases and the displays become more common. The move should result in the creation of more stable, higher-quality displays as well. Soluble OLEDs are typically better at reproducing a greater range of color than the current standard method.
The company is already playing a big role in that particular segment of the market both at home — with Samsung — and across the board. That's thanks in part to the fact OLEDs aren't used solely in televisions and advancements are scattered to meet the needs of each respective area where the technology is used. So the impact of the acquisition should be seen in other areas of technology too. All of that should place LG in a better position to compete with its top rivals.
Depending on the direction taken by LG's more widely-known display division from LG Chem's research and development, that can be expected to include devices ranging from televisions to computers, tablets, and smartphones.