Different Ways to Integrate Quantum Dots in TVs
Quantum dots (QDs) are one of the latest materials to emerge from the nanotechnologist’s toolkit into the commercial domain, where the advantages and properties of any new technology are often subjected to hyperbole. In this sense, quantum dots are like graphene; the monomolecular allotrope of carbon that redefined materials science over a decade ago. Both have been touted as groundbreaking materials with virtually limitless applications, enabling manufacturers in a range of markets to push the frontiers of what their products are capable of. However, the real-world applications of graphene are still limited. From that perspective, quantum dots have an advantage over graphene.
Quantum Dots in TVs: Picture Perfect
Newfound mainstream attention for quantum dots largely stems back to the use of quantum dots in TVs and other displays. Traditionally dominated by liquid crystal displays (LCDs), then organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), the consumer electronics market has experienced a shift away from an individual technological monopoly. Currently, the market is experiencing a period of intense format competition between OLED and quantum dot-enhanced LCDs, with efficiency and performance comparisons often favoring current-generation OLED TVs.
However, prototypical quantum dots in TVs have redefined what screens are capable in terms of efficiency and vibrancy. Industry experts predict that future display architectures will successfully exploit the full trove of benefits offered by novel, highly powerful quantum dot materials.
Currently, there are several different approaches to integrating quantum dots in TVs which makes it difficult to assess the risks and opportunities from a manufacturer’s perspective. Why adopt quantum dots in display manufacturing now, if the golden standard of QD color filters is effectively just around the corner?
Approaches to QD Displays: Edge Optic, Film Type & QDCF
The first approach to quantum dots in TVs was championed by early QD-LED televisions with edge-lit optics. These utilized a dispersion of quantum dots in a polymer, which was contained in a glass tube mounted over a strip of LEDs at the edges of a screen. There were several disadvantages to this technique, including increased temperature output. This proved problematic for early quantum dots which suffered from thermal instability issues; necessitating a rather bulky hermetic tube to ensure ongoing operating stability. While essential for ensuring the long service life of the display unit, this tube made it difficult to design televisions with attractive, narrow bezels. As a result of these complications, edge optic integration of quantum dots in displays quickly fell out of favor.
Read More: What is a Quantum Dot TV?
QD films in displays are the current technology of choice for QD-LCD televisions. Initially, cadmium selenide- or indium phosphide-based quantum dots were overlaid on a blue LED backlight and integrated into prototypical LCD matrices. This provided the color performance benefits of quantum dots.
Cadmium-free films are the current industry standard approach to developing quantum dots in TVs. Yet there is still a consensus that next-generation quantum dot color filters (QDCFs) are still an upcoming stop on the road of quantum dot research and development. Read our previous post if you need answers to the question: What is a QDCF?
Beyond QDCF technology, experts theorize that direct view quantum dots will enter the market in the medium- to long-term. However, there are inhibiting material properties that must be addressed before quantum dots can be applied in such a pioneering downstream manner.
Quantum Dots from Avantama
Avantama is a market leader in the development and manufacture of high-performance quantum dots for display applications. We develop cadmium-free RoHS compliant QDs with a multi-ton scale production capacity. If you would like to learn more, simply contact a member of the Avantama team today.