In The News

Market Potential of Quantum Dots in the TV Display Industry

By Staff Writers

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Topics Covered


According to NanoMarkets, developments in quantum dots (QDs) have made them useful enough to television display makers to give the technology a competitive edge in the marketplace. It is an assumption of display manufacturers that creating better color is a key selling point.

An array of pure colors can be created throughout the visible light spectrum through careful control of the size distribution of QDs in their formulations. Color tuning can also achieved by controlling the spacing of QD particles.

QDs in Display Application

For display applications, RGB QDs are typically embedded on a thin sheet material placed between the LCD and the light guide. The QDs are patterned in such a way to match the RGB filters of the LCD, enabling the respective color to be shown through the respective filter. For instance red light is only shown through red filters. This QD-enhanced LCD technology provides a display with richer colors and improved color gamut when compared to conventional LCD displays.

Besides picture quality, customers can enjoy a very strong value proposition from QD-enhanced TVs. Although OLED TVs have assured similar quality, they have yet to be brought to the marketplace at anything close to a reasonable price. Conversely, QD TVs are compatible within the framework of current LCD fabrication processes, posing threat to OLED TVs that need expensive fabrication facilities to offer comparable performance. The QD production processes can become affordable when put into volume production.

Areas of Concern

Although QDs offer several advantages for large displays, the two major OEMs, Samsung and LG, have made a heavy investment in OLED technology considering the quantum efficiency and lifetime issues associated with QDs. These concerns need to be addressed by QD manufacturers. Toxicity is another concern as quantum dots based on cadmium-containing semiconductors exhibit the highest performance.

Regulations in EU and Japan limit the use of cadmium, a compelling reason to focus on the development of cadmium-free QDs. Manufacturers who can offer high performance cadmium-free QDs in adequate volumes will have a competitive edge in the market moving forward.

Key Players

Sony leads this niche market with commercially available TVs featuring the patented Color IQ technology from QD Vision at a price cheaper than OLED TVs. These TVs use QDs in place of conventional LED phosphors. The Color IQ technology-based TVs can realize 100% of the color spectrum specified by the National Television System Committee (NTSC). NanoMarkets predicts that QD Vision will lead the QD revolution.

The Color IQ process is an economical method of producing an enriched range of color compared to conventional LCD TVs. For widespread adoption of QD-enhanced TVs, QD Vision and other manufacturers have to develop alliances with multiple OEMs. For instance, Samsung supports Nanosys in the development of cadmium-free QDs. If this results in a collaborative initiative that makes QD-enhanced TVs from Samsung, both Nanosys as well as the entire market will get benefitted.

Nanosys has its own patented production process for photoluminescent QDs. In collbaroaiton with 3M, Nanosys developed a QD enhancement film (QDEF) that can be mounted on top of a conventional LED backlight, enabling integration of QDs into existing LED backlit displays. This design allows the QD film to absorb blue light from the LED, producing red and green light that can be integrated with the original blue light to generate a high quality white light.

Recently, Nanosys showed Hisense LCD TVs featuring QDEF. Although these TVs’ commercial availability won’t take place any time soon, Nanosys is capable of mass producing the QD material to manufacture QDEF films. The UK-based Nanoco can manufacture cadmium-free QDs with good optical properties using wet chemistry process involving inkjet printing. Its move to launch a cost-effective bulk production base in Japan is likely to draw the attention of potential LCD display manufacturers.

Quantum Materials Corporation (QMC), based in the US, is another company involved in the production of CdSe and cadmium-free tetrapod QDs utilizing a continuous flow process, which is scalable through the addition of more micro-reactors. The tetrapod shape can offer more precise color control and greater luminescence when compared to standard spherical QDs, which may provide a competitive edge to QMC. The large display market is the not focus area of QMC, but perhaps the company should focus on it.

Market Opportunities

The large display market is the most promising sector for QDs in the coming years. NanoMarkets estimates that the QD-enhanced backlit TV market will grow from roughly $18 million in 2014 to more than $230 million by the end of the decade. Similarly, adoption of QDs is expected to increase in smaller displays. In both markets, manufacturers who can provide high quality cadmium-free QDs in large quantities will have an advantage. Other potential applications of QDs, such as in direct emission displays and lighting, do not have much opportunity for growth in the short term.

About NanoMarkets

NanoMarkets is a leading provider of market research and industry analysis of opportunities within advanced materials and emerging energy and electronics markets. Since the firm’s founding, NanoMarkets has published over one hundred comprehensive research reports on emerging technology markets. Topics covered have included OLED displays, lighting and materials, thin-film electronics, conductive inks, transparent conductors, renewable energy, printed electronics and other promising technologies. Our client roster is a who’s who of companies in specialty chemicals, materials, electronics applications and manufacturing.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by NanoMarkets.
For more information on this source, please visit NanoMarkets.

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