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LG and Samsung invest €25m in blue OLEDs

Korean tech giants LG Display and Samsung Ventures have invested €25 million in German OLED firm Cynora in order to support the development of a new type of organic emitting material for organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays. In particular, Cynora’s material will enable the manufacturing of highly efficient blue OLEDs, the most sought-after colour by OLED display manufacturers.

Based on thermally activated delayed fluorescence (TADF) technology, Cynora’s material is designed to reduce electrical stress within OLEDs, combining the long lifetime advantages of fluorescence with the high efficiency advantages of phosphorescence. With the technology, Cynora will be able to produce stable and efficient blue emitters and commercialise blue emitting OLEDs, a highly demanded technology by OLED display makers. Replacing current blue OLED technology will enable significant reductions in power consumption and higher resolution displays.

The €25 million from LG Display and Samsung Ventures came as part of a Series-B funding round to support the German firm in the development of a portfolio of organic emitting materials for AMOLED (active matrix) displays that covers the full range of colours. The new shareholders will join existing investors MIG, Wecken and Cie, and KfW, which have supported Cynora’s growth in the last few years. Cynora has worked closely with LG Display and Samsung during the last months to prepare this strategic investment, and will continue to engage with Cynora via the investment, along with separate joint developments to advance its R&D and IP portfolio.

‘I am delighted to welcome LG Display and Samsung Ventures as Cynora’s shareholders,’ said Cynora CEO Gildas Sorin. ‘This investment confirms that our materials are highly attractive for the OLED display industry. Cynora will work in close collaboration with LG and Samsung to support their respective activities. The cash injection will also be used to strengthen our worldwide presence as a supplier of high-efficiency emitting materials. We will commercialise our first blue product by the end of 2017, followed by green and red.’

Growing use of AMOLED panels in premium TVs and smartphones will drive the OLED panel market to reach $75 billion, with a CAGR of 31 per cent, in sales by 2021, according to market research firm UBI Research.

Because of the high cost and technology barriers associated with integrating OLEDs into television panels, however, LG Display is currently their only manufacturer, according to Yole Développement, another market research firm. This means that, despite the company currently building two new OLED television manufacturing lines in Korea and China, set to open in 2019, this global lack in production capacity will lead to the adoption of OLED televisions being limited to less than 12 million units per year until 2022.

As a result, quantum dot displays, a competing wide colour gamut display technolgy, could soon capture the majority of the high-end television market.

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