Phosphorescent materials are based on the addition of a heavy-metal to the emissive materials, and most (if not all?) commercial materials use Iridium. The price of this rare metal has hit an all-time high last week.
Towards the end of last year, the price of one oz of Iridium was $1,760. Last week it hit $6,000 - the price jumped over 300% in just three months. Experts explain that the price has risen due to a disruption in the supply in South Africa (which supplies around 80% of the global market) and strong demand from the electrical and electrochemical sector.
Iridium is used in many electronics applications - including temperature resistant crucibles used to grow synthetic crystals for electronics and telecommunications systems such as high-performance spark plugs, medical devices and iridium-coated electrodes for navel ballast systems. And - of course, PHOLED emitter materials. All electrical market applications together (including OLED materials) accounted for around 70,000 oz of Iridium in 2020 - about 31% of the total demand.
This sharp increase in Iridium price could effect Universal Display's margins - and may result in an increase in material prices. UDC is bound in long-term agreements with its customers - but it could be that the price is tied to the price of Iridium, which could mean that the price of OLED panels may increase.