Display technology is so ubiquitous today that it may seem pointless to even give it some thought. However, since the opposite is the case – the technology is anything but pointless – it’s definitely worth taking a closer look at. After all, you’re probably reading this text on a notebook, tablet or smartphone and maybe on a device with a display that was made with high-tech materials from Merck.
Making data accessible
If the eyes are the window to the soul, then displays are the window to the digital world. Digital information and algorithms only become visible and accessible through visualization made possible by a display. Displays are the central interface between us and computers. They’re part and parcel of everyday life. Without them, digitalization would be unimaginable.
In our digital world, displays serve two basic functions: First of all, they are used to visualize data, whether in text form, as a video or graphic. And secondly, displays are no longer just senders, but now also receive information. For instance, physical gestures can be transformed into digital signals in order to operate computers, smartphones or household appliances.
Displays have become commonplace in our everyday lives, for instance when watching television, writing messages, or surfing the Web. The modern working world would hardly be conceivable without displays. Virtually everywhere, people use displays to work, to receive information, to communicate, to visualize ideas or to operate devices. This applies to both the office as well as the factory, where more and more machines have a digital component and thus usually displays as well.
Leading global provider of solutions
For more than 50 years, we at Merck have been discovering and developing high-tech materials for the production of displays and are a global market leader in this sector today. Liquid crystals are one of our most important products. Liquid Crystal Displays, better known as LCD, is the flat screen technology used most widely today. In addition, we are a leader in the development and production of materials for organic light-emitting diodes or OLEDs. What makes them special? Since every pixel generates light itself, they don’t need any backlighting. OLED displays therefore consume very little power and are perfectly suited for use in portable devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Plus, OLEDs can be applied to nearly any surface, both rigid and flexible, via ink jet printing. Bendable or even rollable displays are not science fiction anymore. The first smartphones and tablets with foldable screens are already on the market. As the digital transformation advances, the application spectrum of displays is going to become even more diverse in the coming years. It’s quite conceivable that in the future we’ll read our daily newspaper on an ultra-thin, rollable display – marking the digital comeback of the scroll.
Ever sharper, thinner and more efficient
Within Performance Materials, we are continuously working to develop our innovative display materials further in order to keep up with the increasing variety and complexity of the devices and to meet the demand for ever more pixels. For instance, our OLED materials allow for ultra-high resolution displays with a resolution of 8K and in the future even 16K, offering razor-sharp images even with a picture diagonal of more than 2 meters.
But today, higher resolution alone is no longer enough. The aim is also to make displays thinner and thinner, to expand their color spectrum, provide for more contrast and brightness or to decrease reflection – all while improving energy efficiency. Digitalization depends on the development of higher performance displays. With our specialty chemicals, we at Merck can make a major contribution here.