By BizLED Bureau
September 23, 2015: Merck, the global pharmaceutical and chemical company, will now manufacture and sell silicate-based phosphor materials that enables generation of white light when combined with a blue emitter. This has been possible by entering into a licensing agreement with Tridonic Jennersdorf GmbH.
Tridonic is now granting a material license to Merck to manufacture and market the silicate phosphor materials for potential use in white light LEDs. The license agreement between Tridonic and Merck gives Merck full potential to manufacture and offer silicate phosphors for use in white LEDs.
Tridonic, together with Toyoda Gosei Co., Ltd. (Japan), Leuchtstoffwerk Breitungen GmbH (Germany), and Litec GbR (Germany), owns basic patents relating to a technology for generation of white light using blue LEDs and novel yellow silicate phosphors. Silicate phosphors applied to blue LED chips enable manufacturing of packaged white LEDs with high-accuracy and high-brightness. Primary applications include cell phones, laptops, GPS and other small displays, accounting for high share of today?s global LED market.
According to Merck, the primary applications for the silicate phosphor would be in LEDs for backlights in cell phones, laptops, and other small displays. However, it is not clear if it would be used in general lighting as well.
The agreement will definitely impact the white LED sector. Smaller companies will find another source for getting YAG (yttrium aluminum garnet) phosphor materials, which makes most white LEDs. And since Nichia is the biggest holder of intellectual property (IP) rights in the YAG area, LED manufacturers who want to use YAG technology may either have to pay Nichia for the rights or negotiate a cross-license agreement. This is, however, not affordable for smaller companies.
There are two other phosphor manufactuers in the sector. While Intematix is the primary independent phosphor manufacture, GE Lighting also offers a narrow-band red phosphor that is vital for higher-quality warm-white light.
Merck had earlier acquired Litec-LLL GmbH that specializes in the research, development and production of ortho-silicate lighting materials. Ortho-silicates can be used as the wavelength-conversion material in white LEDs. Since 2005, Merck had been pursuing research and development of materials like YAG, which it will now manufacture and sell.