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Interview Highlight Merck, world's leading manufacturer of LCD materials The following article is the full text of an interview with Song Young-kwon, Managing Director, Head of LC division, Merck Advanced Technologies Ltd. on the occasion of the IMID Conference....Ed. Would you briefly tell us about Merck Advanced Technologies How has MAT contributed to the Korean display industry for continuous Win-Win success Merck in Korea provides products, services and technological innovation in the fields of Liquid Crystals, OLED materials, Organic Electronics for LCD and other display industry under the name of Merck Advanced Technologies Ltd. (MAT), as a part of Merck Group, the oldest pharmaceutical chemical company in the world. For 338 years, Merck has followed six values to remain close to our customers-namely, Customer centric, Respect for people, Integrity, Visionary and Innovative, Transparency and Delivering ambitious results. In this year, Liquid Crystals division also introduced its new brand logo, which is called "Competence Globe," with five core competencies: Expertise, Partnership, Innovation, Quality and Reliability. Merch's headquarters in Korea is located in Seoul, a vibrant metropolis with more than 10 million inhabitants. In our technical center in the Poseung industrial complex, we are developing and manufacturing Liquid Crystals mixtures for the Korean display industry and China partly. R&D, production and supporting facilities are occupying a floor space of 5,750 m2. Korean manufacturers are leading the world display market. Merck has very high market share of Liquid Crystals mixtures and our facilities in Korea have been designed to cope with the increasing technical requirements and demand of this fast expanding industry. Our Poseung site (21,000 m2) is the location of a 3,950 m2 state of the art chemical warehouse. Products are delivered to any destination in Korea & China within 6-36 hours. Customers order more than 50% of their demand online. Merck is the leading manufacturer of LCD materials worldwide and offers Liquid Crystals mixtures for all-important technologies such as VA (Vertical Alignment), IPS (In Plane Switching), TN (Twist Nematic) and STN (Supertwisted Nematic). The materials are found in various applications such as LCD television sets, PC monitors, notebooks, personal digital assistants, automobile navigation systems, mobile telephones, indicating panels measuring instruments and electronic games. Merck supports our customers from R&D to mass-production and supplies adequate quantities of products at the right time in Korea. Merck carries out continuous material innovation at our research centers and prepare tailor-made mixture developments for our customers in Korea & China. Also MAT has been supporting the "Merck Award" for outstanding scientific contributions to display technologies through the committee of IMID since 2004. From 2006, it will expand to LC, OLED, OTFT with Flexible display. As a corporate citizenship, MAT takes care of the environment during the entire life cycle of our products from R&D, throughout production to end-of-life recovery resp. recycling of waste LCDs. Would you explain about the 100-year history of Liquid Crystals within Merck Liquid Crystals were discovered in 1888 by Austrian botanist Frederich Reinitzer. Two years later, German physicist Otto Lehmann confirmed this new fourth state of matter. In 1904, they turned to manual Merck to better understand their discovery. The same year Merck began selling Liquid Crystals of the highest purity. By the 1920s and 1930s, Liquid Crystals as a new state of matter were accepted by the scientific community. But it wasn't until 1968 the first prototype of Liquid Crystals display operating at room temperature was revealed. The concept of the flat television was born. It was immediately clear to Merck that displays were the future of Liquid Crystals. The principle underlying modern Liquid Crystals displays, the twisted nematic field effect, was discovered in 1971 and by the end of 1970s Merck was well established in the domain of Liquid Crystals with new patents, licenses, and competences in chemical, physical and applications technologies. The 1980s and 1990s saw tremendous growth and change for Merck as it branched out beyond supplying Liquid Crystals to supplying a wide range of components for display industry. The company entered into joint ventures with its partners to develop components such as ITO glasses, colored filters and optical films and also worked on new technologies such as Inplane Switching, vertical Alignment for LCD video monitors and TVs. Soon Merck's partners were able to mass-produce large flat energy saving LCD television screens. This technological advance was so significant that in November of 2003, Merck researchers received the German Future Prize from the President of Federal Republic of Germany. In 2004, one hundred years after our work with Liquid Crystals began, Merck is the global leader in liquid crystal market, and inside almost every LCD made today from super flat television screen to computer monitors, mobile telephones and navigation systems. Together Merck will develop new and even more amazing liquid crystal displays for the pleasure and benefit on us all. When we look at the development of the Liquid Crystals Business long-term we have seen an accelerated growth of the business since the end of the nineties. What we currently see is a strong development in the area of LCD-TV and our business consequently has developed well. From technological perspective this is largely due to our portfolio of VA and IPS sophisticated materials. As very important issues Merck sees the continuous developments of superior materials as well as enhanced efforts to improve on the reliability of materials, especially in large size LCDs. For this a series of investigations and measures is and will be taken, including a strong and positive contribution of MAT's facilities in Poseung. Why did MAT start the Merck Award at IMID Merck not only set first quality standards in areas like reagents, pharmaceutical raw materials and analytics as early as back in the 19th century. Already 100 years ago, in 1904, we developed and manufactured the first Liquid Crystals. Since the discovery of the first LC Displays in 1967 our company succeeded to be at the leading edge of technology developing new Liquid Crystals generations.In Korea, the history of the Merck Liquid Crystals Division dates back to the beginning of the 1990s, when Merck decided to set up a technical support center in the form of an application laboratory for the emerging LCD industry in Korea. As little know-how was available in Korea at that time on Liquid Crystals for AM-LCD application, Merck managed to build up excellent relations to key engineers through technical advices and practical supports and gradually gained the reputation of loyal supplier with innovative products for the Korean market. Later, Merck have continuously expanded our activities and infra-structure and consequently have successfully maintained the status of first supplier of advanced liquid crystal materials to the Korean LCD makers, who in the last five years became world market leaders in the area of AM-LCD for notebooks, monitors and lately also for LC-TVs. As a market leader in Liquid Crystals it is our intention and duty to stimulate innovation in the area of liquid crystal technologies. Thus, Merck continuously looks for cooperating opportunities to improve the quality of Liquid Crystals Displays. At that time, MAT noticed that IMID conference has rapidly grown to a major international LCD conference, reflecting the importance of the Korean LCD industry worldwide. Therefore, the IMID conference started to provide an excellent platform for Merck to express its appreciation to developments in Liquid Crystals technologies and with this also confirms MAT's continuous commitment to the LCD industry in public through the Merck Award since 2004. During this ye ar, the scope of Merck Award enlarged from Liquid Crystals display technology to FPD (e.g. OLED/OTFT & PDP) along with young scientists with doubled amount.