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Merck-backed QLight opens new Jerusalem nanotech site
By NIV ELIS AND REUTERS
07/10/2013
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who attended the opening, pointed to the new opening as a sign of Jerusalem’s investment.
 
QLight Nanotech, a Jerusalem based start-up backed and partly owned by Merck, opened a new facility in Jerusalem last week to further its development of LED lighting and flat-panel display products using semiconductor nanocrystal materials.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, who attended the opening, pointed to the new opening as a sign of Jerusalem’s investment. Qlight is a subsidiary of Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“For the past few years we have been focusing on expanding Jerusalem’s hi-tech and biomed industries, which are in the critical path of success for the city,” Barkat said. “The partnership between Qlight Nanotech and Merck is an excellent example of how we can harness the power of Jerusalem’s top institutions, like the Hebrew University, and leverage our applied research to a global marketplace.”

Merck first invested in QLight in 2012, though the companies have not disclosed details of the investment. The agreement called for an additional investment by Merck upon QLight reaching certain development milestones.

“There is ongoing discussion on the next round of investment,” Bernd Reckmann, head of Merck’s chemicals division, told Reuters during a visit to Israel. “It has not yet been decided.”

QLight, which was established in 2009, and Merck have been carrying out joint research into this new class of materials for several years as part of a partnership program supported by the Chief Scientist’s Office.

The new technology will help to innovate the LCD display market, Reckmann said.

“It gives tools to improve the quality of the picture in brightness and color range,” he said. The technology also helps cut energy consumption of flat-screen TVs, Merck said.

While LCD (liquid crystal display) is one of Merck’s biggest cash generators, the German group is also investing in OLED, a display technology that could succeed LCD.

Organic light-emitting diode displays are thinner, more energy efficient and offer higher-contrast images than LCD.

“OLED is still the only technology which has the potential to take market share in the display arena from LCD, but it’s still in its infancy,” Reckmann said. “There are a lot of technical challenges, especially on the manufacturing side.”

Analysts believe OLED will not take significant share – 10 percent or more – of the display market before 2017-18.

The success of technologies such as QLight’s in innovating the LCD market will also make it more difficult for OLED, Reckmann added.
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