LG Display partners with LG Chem to develop key OLED material in-house

Mike Wheatley

LG Display is making good progress on its mission towards becoming fully self-reliant in terms of OLED panel production, thanks to a collaboration with sister organization LG Chem. The two companies, both owned by the same parent firm, collaborated to produce a critical OLED manufacturing material known as “p-Dopant” in-house.


Until now, LG Display has always relied on importing p-Dopant from abroad, and so the ability to create the substance itself is a big milestone in its ongoing effort to boost its domestic production ecosystem and reduce its reliance on foreign suppliers.

LG Display said it has been making good progress on this path already. Last year, it increased the proportion of OLED materials produced locally from 58% to 64%, sourcing those new materials from its affiliates and other South Korean providers.

Dopants such as p-Dopant are additives used to modify the electronic properties of the light-emitting layers in OLED displays. The p-Dopant type is especially important, as it’s used to ensure greater consistency of OLED light emission, and therefore plays a key role in its most advanced, Micro Lens Array OLED panels, which helps to boost the overall brightness of the displays in this year’s premium OLED TVs. In addition, p-Dopant can help to prolong the lifespan of OLED displays and reduce power consumption. However, the company had previously struggled to manufacture p-Dopant on its own, due to its vulnerability to air degradation.

The collaboration saw LG Display contribute its proficiency in material design and performance validation, while LG Chem focused on the synthesis and production of p-Dopant, creating the necessary systems to prevent the material from degrading. Following months of close cooperation, the companies say they were able to produce a material that equals the efficiency and performance of the p-Dopant it imports from other suppliers.

Yoon Soo-young, chief technology officer and vice president at LG Display, said the company has long pursued a strategy of working to develop core OLED materials in-house, rather than rely on foreign suppliers.

LG Display said the importance of securing domestically-made p-Dopant is even more significant for “Tandem OLEDs”, which is described as a “groundbreaking new OLED technology” that relies on multiple stacked OLED layers to noticeably enhance the brightness and lifespan of displays beyond their current standards. The p-Dopant helps to facilitate the seamless movement of positive charges in each of the stacked OLED layers to ensure they consistently meet with their negative counterparts. The approach requires much more of the material than existing OLED displays, the company added.

LG Display’s determination to procure supplies locally will enable it to achieve a more reliable supply chain and safeguard its technology patents in order to retain its dominant position in OLED display manufacturing, officials said.

LG Electronics currently dominates the global OLED TV market with a 54.6% share, followed by Sony with 26.1% and Samsung Electronics at 6.1%. In terms of the market for OLED TV panels, LG Display – which supplies panels to LG Electronics, Sony and many other companies – holds an even more dominant position. Its only challenger is Samsung Display, which produces QD-OLED panels.