* German Merck aims to be leading OLED player by 2018
* Lays cornerstone for new 30 mln eur OLED plant
* Merck is market leader in liquid crystals (Adds details on competitors, investment)
DARMSTADT, Germany, June 19 (Reuters) - Germany's Merck aims to be a leading maker of OLED (organic light-emitting diode) materials by 2018, its head of chemicals said on Friday.
"We invested significant sums in this technology at an early stage," Bernd Reckmann said in a statement.
Merck, which dominates the market for liquid crystals for displays, is one of dozens of players in the nascent OLED market. Others include Universal Display, Dow Chemical and BASF Future Business
OLEDs are used in displays for mobile phones, digital cameras and other gadgets and are popular for portable devices that are used outdoors because their high light output makes them easy to read in sunlight and they use little battery power.
Merck on Friday laid the cornerstone for a new OLED production plant in Darmstadt, in which it is investing 30 million euros ($34 million). ($1 = 0.8839 euros) (Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Thomas Atkins)
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