Will QDCFs Replace Quantum Dot Films?

Quantum dot (QD) films currently provide some of the most immersive viewing experiences ever developed for consumer displays. This comes as a result of the unique capabilities of both the underlying nanotechnology and the larger film-type architecture. Several different approaches to QDs in displays have already been explored by electronics manufacturers, but QD films currently set the benchmark in terms of performance and cost-efficiency. However, some industry analysts believe that QD films are merely a precursor to more advanced technologies like QD on-chip and QD color filters (QDCFs).

While QDCFs are not exactly imminent, they are likely to be one of the next significant steps forward for display technologies. Whether QDCFs will be a successor or complementary format to QD films largely depends on performance, cost, and how well the technology overcomes existing material limitations.

Comparing QD Films and QDCFs

Unlike edge-lit optics, QD films are integrated directly into the lamellar structure of liquid crystal displays (LCDs); behind the glass panel but in front of the color filter. They also use a backlight of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as an excitation source. Alongside superior electrical efficiency and operating stability, QD films also generate more saturated colors and greater contrast ratios to satisfy the requirements of high dynamic range content (HDR10, Dolby Vision, etc.).

QDCFs would replace the traditional color filter with a new component comprising red and green quantum dots with transparent subpixels to directly transmit blue light from the panel of LEDs. This revolutionary concept changes the color filter from a passive to an active layer in the LCD matrix, providing theoretical energy efficiency improvements of at least 50% with significant additional performance benefits. Provided developers can overcome manufacturing and stability limitations of current generation quantum dots, this format of QDCF would provide the widest possible viewing angles and 100% coverage of DCI-P3 protocol.

Can These Technologies Coexist?

This question is largely commercial, depending on the production costs of next-generation displays with QDCFs. Using organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) as a brief case study, it is feasible that excessive production costs could limit the market viability of smaller display panels. Almost two decades after the technology was first released to consumers, OLEDs are still largely confined to large-panel premium displays while LCDs remain the most common technology for smaller screens and budget-limited consumers.

However, this is arguably a pessimistic forecast with current research efforts painting a much more optimistic picture. QDCFs will require a new method of panel production and an additional in-cell polarizer to correctly function, yet the component itself is likely to be manufactured via well-established photolithographic methods and standard inkjet printing. If the technology can be generated in a cost-efficient process, QDCFs will most likely succeed QD films and become the new standard approach to QDs in displays.

QDs from Avantama

Avantama is one of the world’s leading suppliers of QD formulations and nanoparticle inks for printed electronics applications. We have written extensively on the state of play in the display sector, providing insights into the market and the development of new electronics solutions. If you have found this post interesting, you might enjoy: What is a QDCF?

If you have any questions about the problems facing QDCF actualization in the display market, contact a member of the Avantama team today.