|Source: Fraunhofer Society|
Quantum Dots continue to be one of the hottest trends in the display industry. Following the buzz from CES 2015 in Las Vegas a number of exciting new Quantum Dot displays are now hitting the market from top set makers. Here’s a roundup of the latest news:TCL QDTV featuring Quantum Dot Enhancement Film on display at a launch event in China
TCL, the world’s 3rd largest TV brand, just launched a new range of curved, Ultra HD Quantum Dot TVs, called the H8800S series. According to TCL, the new sets “adopt quantum dot color enhancement materials and a curved display to achieve an unparalleled color gamut coverage of 110% NTSC for curved TVs.”
Taiwanese display panel maker AUO also announced a full line-up of Quantum Dot displays ranging from 55″ to 85″ at the CITE show in Shenzhen, China. Dubbed “ALCD” for Advanced-LCD, the sets all feature UHD resolution, HDR with direct LED backlighting and Quantum Dot wide color gamut. The 65″ model also comes in AUO’s favorite 3000R curvature for a more immersive experience. All models are expected to ship during the second half of 2015.
Finally, Tianma NLT America announced that they introducing a new 21.3″ Quantum Dot LCD with 100% Adobe RGB color gamut coverage and 700 nit brightness. This display is designed for the medical diagnostic display market where high performance and accurate color reproduction enabled by Quantum Dot Enhancement Film are critical.
Long the object of ivory tower fascination, quantum dots are entering the commercial realm. Factories that manufacture the nanomaterials are opening, and popular consumer products that use them are hitting the market.
Behind the gee-whiz technology are three companies with three different approaches to producing and delivering quantum dots. The firms—Nanosys, QD Vision, and Dow Chemical (Nanoco) — are racing to capture a share of the emerging market, but there may not be a place for everyone at the finish line.
Developed at Bell Labs in the 1980s, quantum dots are semiconducting inorganic particles small enough to force the quantum confinement of electrons. Ranging in size from 2 to 6 nm, the dots emit light after electrons are excited and return to the ground state. Larger ones emit red light, medium-sized ones emit green, and smaller ones emit blue.
Quantum dots have been proposed for all sorts of applications, including lighting and medical diagnostics, but the market that is taking off now is enhancing liquid-crystal displays (LCDs).
According to Yoosung Chung, an analyst who follows the quantum dot business for the consulting firm NPD DisplaySearch, last year saw the introduction of the first commercial display products to incorporate quantum dots: Bravia brand televisions from Sony and the Kindle Fire HDX tablet from Amazon. This year, the Chinese company TCL introduced a quantum-dot-containing TV and Taiwan’s Asus shipped a quantum dot laptop.
What quantum dots bring to displays is more vibrant colors generated with less energy. The liquid crystals in conventional LCD screens create colors by selectively filtering white light emitted by a light-emitting diode (LED) backlight, which typically runs along one edge of the screen. But that white light is broad spectrum and not optimal for producing the highly saturated reds, greens, and blues needed for lifelike images.
Jeff Yurek, a marketing manager at Nanosys, says the color performance of LCDs is only 70% of what is provided by more expensive organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays.
Quantum-dot-enabled displays incorporate a backlight that gives off blue light, some of which the dots convert into pure red and green. The three colors combine into an improved white light that the LCDs draw on to create pictures that are almost as vivid as those achieved with OLEDs.
Moreover, because no light is wasted, energy costs are lowered. That’s important, according to Yurek, because the display accounts for half of the power consumed in a mobile device. By incorporating Nanosys’s quantum dots in its new HDX tablet, Amazon was able to cut display power consumption by 20%, he claims.
“Going from the HD to the HDX, they made a thinner, lighter, higher resolution, more colorful display with longer battery life,” Yurek says.
On the strength of demand from companies such as Amazon, Nanosys has been investing in its quantum dot plant in Milpitas, Calif. According to Yurek, the company is now completing an expansion that will more than double its output. Soon, he says, the firm will have the capacity to supply dots for 250 million 10-inch tablet devices a year.
Also expanding is QD Vision, a Lexington, Mass.-based firm founded on chemistry developed at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its dots can be found in Sony’s Bravia line and are set to appear in TVs made by TCL, which is the third-largest TV maker after Samsung and LG.
Seth Coe-Sullivan, QD Vision’s chief technology officer and cofounder, explains that his firm and Nanosys use the same basic manufacturing technique: They decompose organocadmium and other compounds at high heat in the presence of surfactants and solvents. The resulting monomers nucleate and form nanocrystals. Size can be controlled stoichiometrically or by thermally quenching the growing crystals.
Where the two firms differ is the way in which they embed quantum dots in a consumer product. Nanosys works with companies such as 3M to create quantum-dot-containing films that are placed between the LED backlight and the LCDs in tablets and other displays. For example, the Asus quantum-dot-containing laptop, known as the NX500 Notebook PC, incorporates the 3M/Nanosys film.
QD Vision, in contrast, encapsulates its quantum dots in a polymer matrix inside a glass tube that is placed directly against the LED backlight. It’s a hot environment but one that the dots can withstand, Coe-Sullivan says, because of how they are synthesized and packaged.
QD Vision manufactures its dots in Lexington and ships them to a contractor in Asia to be packaged in the tubes. The contractor is in the process of quadrupling capacity to 4 million tubes per month, which is enough, Coe-Sullivan says, to supply a quarter of the world’s TV industry.
He argues that his firm’s tube approach is suited to TVs and other large displays, whereas a film works better with smaller tablets and laptops. So far, marketplace adoption bears this contention out. “I honestly don’t feel our products compete with each other,” Coe-Sullivan says.
Dow, however, is throwing down the gauntlet against both approaches. Using technology licensed from the British firm Nanoco, Dow is developing cadmium-free quantum dots. It is betting that the display industry is uneasy with the cadmium content of dots from Nanosys and QD Vision and that it will flock to a cadmium-free alternative.
In September, Dow announced that it will use the Nanoco technology to build the world’s first large-scale, cadmium-free quantum dot plant at its site in Cheonan, South Korea. When the plant opens in the first half of 2015, Dow says, it will enable the manufacture of millions of quantum dot TVs and other display devices.
Dow and Nanoco haven’t disclosed the active material in their quantum dots and declined an interview with C&EN. They acknowledge that the dots contain indium but insist that they aren’t indium phosphide, as their competitors claim.
The use of one heavy metal versus another might not seem to make a big difference environmentally. But in the European Union, cadmium is one of six substances regulated by the Restriction of Hazardous Substances, or RoHS, directive. Cadmium cannot be present in electronics at levels above 100 ppm without an exemption.
Larger amounts of cadmium are allowed in LED-containing displays under an exemption that expired on July 1. Late last year, in a consultation process moderated by Oeko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology), a German nonprofit, the major quantum dot players made their cases for why the expiring exemption should or shouldn’t be extended.
Nanosys, QD Vision, 3M, and others lobbied for extension to at least 2019, arguing that the benefits of cadmium-based quantum dots outweigh any potential harm. One big reason is that they lower energy consumption by devices, meaning less use of coal in power plants and fewer of the cadmium emissions that can come from burning coal.
In April, Oeko recommended to the EU that the exemption be extended—but only to July 1, 2017, in light of emerging technology that could reduce or eliminate the need for cadmium quantum dots. Industry executives expect the EU to adopt the recommendation by the end of the year.
In their submissions to the consultation process, Dow and Nanoco argued that no extension is necessary because cadmium-free dots are already here. In fact, the Korea Times recently reported that LG and Samsung plan to launch cadmium-free TVs in 2015 with quantum dots from Dow.
Coe-Sullivan says he’ll believe it when he sees it. “The idea that the product is just around the corner has been around for a long time,” he observes. Cadmium-free displays from LG and Samsung were expected to appear at the recent IFA electronics trade show in Berlin, he says, but ended up being a no-show.
The reason, according to cadmium dot proponents, is that indium-based dots have about half the energy efficiency and a narrower color range. “Cad-free today does not have the same performance as cadmium-containing quantum dots,” Coe-Sullivan says. QD Vision and Nanosys also contend that indium-containing quantum dots aren’t environmentally superior, pointing to indium phosphide’s presence on a list of substances being considered for inclusion in RoHS.
Meanwhile, Coe-Sullivan notes, QD Vision has moved away from the metal-alkyl precursors and phosphorus-containing solvents that can make quantum dot manufacturing hazardous. It now uses metal-carboxylate precursors and more benign alkane solvents. Last month, the shift won it one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards.
Chung, the DisplaySearch analyst, is watching the jousting between the cadmium and cadmium-free camps with interest, although he isn’t ready to predict a winner yet. Display makers are concerned about cadmium, he notes, yet they also have qualms about the lower efficiency of cadmium-free quantum dots.
Chung may not know which technology will prevail, but he is sure about one thing. “Now is the time for quantum dots to penetrate the market,” he says.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
- Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society
LG announced quantum dot TV; quantum dot market forecast December 16, 2014. Today LG announced it’ll showcase its quantum dot TV at the upcoming CES 2015. We also expect Samsung to show quantum dot TV. Quantum dot could improve Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) dramatically in terms of color gamut, color accuracy and reducing power consumption.
Figure. Quantum dot display and lighting market forecast Source: Touch Display Research “Quantum dot display and lighting technologies and market forecast report”.
This is one of the biggest breakthrough technologies for LCD in recent several years. Now quantum dot LCD is challenging AMOLED. Touch Display Research surveyed many quantum dot suppliers and found that the quantum dot display component market surpassed $70 million in 2013.
We forecast that the quantum dot display and lighting component market will reach $9.6 billion by 2023. Touch Display Research will be at CES 2015 and report about all quantum dot displays and lighting.
Nanoco’s (NANO) cadmium-free quantum dots are in demand. They provide much better brightness, colour and power efficiency than existing LED technology, making them a must-have for the big electronics manufacturers. Finally, partner Dow Chemical (DOW) is building a plant to make them, which means big profits for Nanoco. Even after surging by 20%, prospects appear undervalued.
A global licensing deal with Dow was signed early in 2013, but the factory in South Korea has taken longer than expected to get past the planning stage, held up by Dow’s attempts to secure volume commitments from Korea’s major television manufacturers. That backing has clearly been secured and other big names are likely.
That’s why this is such big news and why investors have rushed into the shares. Nanoco traded close to 200p when the Dow deal emerged and was above 180p a year ago, but shareholders grew impatient and bailed out, sending the price as low as 85p.
But even at 147p, the shares could be cheap. Kicking off construction at the plant triggers a milestone payment, estimated at about $2 million (£1.22 million). Commercial production of Nanoco quantum dots – to be marketed by Dow under the Trevista brand – is expected to begin in the first half of 2015, followed by substantial royalty revenue for Nanoco, likely from the fourth quarter.
Broker Liberum is excited. It reckons the quantum dots will be sold at $80,000 per kilogram (kg), with each of the 21 million 55-inch TV sets sold annually using about 1gm. Even if only half use cadium-free dots demand could top 10,000kg. Tablets, notebook PCs and smartphones will use them, too.
We are therefore modelling Dow to expand capacity to 2,400kg by 2016 and further to 4,800kg by 2017,” says Liberum, which forecasts an increase in revenue from £5 million in the year to July 2015 to £51 million in 2017, generating earnings per share (EPS) of 17.1p.
On Liberum’s target multiple of 15 times earnings, Nanoco would be valued at almost 260p. “We therefore strongly recommend buying the stock here, which we see as an exciting long term technology growth story available at an attractive price,” it says.
Expect more colour when full-year results are published on 14 October.
This article is for information and discussion purposes only and does not form a recommendation to invest or otherwise. The value of an investment may fall. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.
September 16, 2014:
Note to Readers: This is a Re-Blog from the Nanosys “dot-color” Blog Site: http://www.nanosysinc.com/dot-color/
That was my takeaway from Europe’s massive late summer consumer electronics and broadcast trade shows IFA and IBC.
“UHD” is already a bit of a murky term but it has always been about resolution. Originally, it only meant 8K but marketers have evolved it to encompass just about any resolution beyond 1080P including true 4K and 3840×2160. That’s about to change again and the definition is expanding this time to include not just more but better pixels.
Display makers seem to have recognized that while consumers will appreciate the benefits of 4K resolution, especially when checking out a new TV up close on the showroom floor, it is just not enough to deliver a truly blow-away visual experience.
Walking the halls at IFA 2014 in Berlin, I saw tons of UHD sets from display makers of all types from Samsung to Sony to Hisense. What I did not see were nearly any plain vanilla flat panel displays pushing UHD resolution as a defining feature. Instead, there was a tremendous amount of innovation and differentiation around form factor with curved sets, high dynamic range with dynamic backlighting, wide color gamut with Quantum Dots and higher frame rates.
Content providers and creators have gotten the message as well. Speaking at IBC 2014 in Amsterdam, Paul Grey, director of European research for DisplaySearch said, “Broadcasters know consumers can barely see the difference between HD and 4K if you do nothing more than change the resolution, and this is well based in solid trials methodology. It isn’t just a bit of prejudice. The higher numbers are good for marketing, but not much else.”
When we say “UHD” we increasingly mean “next generation TV” and that encompasses a whole range of new features that will change how we watch TV whether it’s wide color gamut, high dynamic range or even curved form factors.
A new discovery will make it possible to create pixels just a few hundred nanometres across that could pave the way for extremely high-resolution and low-energy thin, flexible displays for applications such as ‘smart’ glasses, synthetic retinas, and foldable screens.
A team led by Oxford University scientists explored the link between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials (materials that can change from an amorphous to a crystalline state). They found that by sandwiching a seven nanometre thick layer of a phase change material (GST) between two layers of a transparent electrode they could use a tiny current to ‘draw’ images within the sandwich ‘stack’.
Initially still images were created using an atomic force microscope but the team went on to demonstrate that such tiny ‘stacks’ can be turned into prototype pixel-like devices. These ‘nano-pixels’ — just 300 by 300 nanometres in size — can be electrically switched ‘on and off’ at will, creating the coloured dots that would form the building blocks of an extremely high-resolution display technology.
A report of the research is published in this week’s Nature.
‘We didn’t set out to invent a new kind of display,’ said Professor Harish Bhaskaran of Oxford University’s Department of Materials, who led the research. ‘We were exploring the relationship between the electrical and optical properties of phase change materials and then had the idea of creating this GST ‘sandwich’ made up of layers just a few nanometres thick. We found that not only were we able to create images in the stack but, to our surprise, thinner layers of GST actually gave us better contrast. We also discovered that altering the size of the bottom electrode layer enabled us to change the colour of the image.’
Whilst the work is still in its early stages, realising its potential, the Oxford team has filed a patent on the discovery with the help of Isis Innovation, Oxford University’s technology commercialisation company. Isis is now discussing the displays with companies who are interested in assessing the technology, and with investors.
The layers of the GST sandwich are created using a sputtering technique where a target is bombarded with high energy particles so that atoms from the target are deposited onto another material as a thin film.
‘Because the layers that make up our devices can be deposited as thin films they can be incorporated into very thin flexible materials — we have already demonstrated that the technique works on flexible Mylar sheets around 200 nanometres thick,’ said Professor Bhaskaran. ‘This makes them potentially useful for ‘smart’ glasses, foldable screens, windshield displays, and even synthetic retinas that mimic the abilities of photoreceptor cells in the human eye.’
Peiman Hosseini of Oxford University’s Department of Materials, first author of the paper, said: ‘Our models are so good at predicting the experiment that we can tune our prototype ‘pixels’ to create any colour we want — including the primary colours needed for a display. One of the advantages of our design is that, unlike most conventional LCD screens, there would be no need to constantly refresh all pixels, you would only have to refresh those pixels that actually change (static pixels remain as they were). This means that any display based on this technology would have extremely low energy consumption.’
The research suggests that flexible paper-thin displays based on the technology could have the capacity to switch between a power-saving ‘colour e-reader mode’, and a backlit display capable of showing video. Such displays could be created using cheap materials and, because they would be solid-state, promise to be reliable and easy to manufacture. The tiny ‘nano-pixels’ make it ideal for applications, such as smart glasses, where an image would be projected at a larger size as, even enlarged, they would offer very high-resolution.
Professor David Wright of the Department of Engineering at the University of Exeter, co-author of the paper, said: ‘Along with many other researchers around the world we have been looking into the use of these GST materials for memory applications for many years, but no one before thought of combining their electrical and optical functionality to provide entirely new kinds of non-volatile, high-resolution, electronic colour displays — so our work is a real breakthrough.’
The phase change material used was the alloy Ge2Sb2Te5 (Germanium-Antimony-Tellurium or GST) sandwiched between electrode layers made of indium tin oxide (ITO).
According to a new market research report titled “Flexible Electronics Market by Components (Display, Battery, Sensor, Photovoltaic, Memory), Circuit Structure (Single-Sided, Double-Sided, Rigid), Application (Consumer Electronics, Healthcare, Automotive, Energy and Power), & by Geography – Analysis & Forecast to 2014 – 2020“, published by MarketsandMarkets, the Flexible Electronics Market is expected to reach $13.23 Billion by 2020.
The development of ﬂexible electronics has spanned the past few years, ranging from the development of ﬂexible solar cell arrays to ﬂexible OLED electronics on plastic substrates. The rapid development of this ﬁeld has been spurred by consistent technological development in large-area electronics, thereby developing the areas like ﬂat-panel electronics, medical image sensors, and electronic paper. Many factors contribute to the rise of ﬂexible electronics they are more ruggedness, lightweight, portable, and less cost, with respect to production as compared to rigid substrate electronics. Basic electronic structure is composed of a substrate, backplane electronics, a front plane, and encapsulation. To make the structure ﬂexible, all the components must bend up to some degree without losing their function. Two basic approaches have been adopted to make ﬂexible electronics, that is, transfer and bonding of completed circuits to a ﬂexible substrate and fabrication of the circuits directly on the ﬂexible substrate.
The report segments the Flexible Electronics Market on the basis of the different types of components, circuit structures, applications and geographies. Further, it contains revenue forecast and analyzes the trends in the market. The geographical analysis contains the in-depth classification of Americas, Europe, and APAC, which contains the major countries covering the market. Further, the Middle-East and Africa have been classified under the RoW region. Each of these geographies has been further split by the major countries existing in this market. The sections and the sub-segments in the report would contain the drivers, restraints, opportunities, and current market trends; and the technologies expected to revolutionize the flexible electronics domain.
The Global Flexible Electronics Market is expected to reach $13.23 Billion by 2020, at an estimated CAGR of 21.73%. The emerging consumer electronics market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 44.30%. North America is the biggest flexible electronics market, followed by Europe and APAC.
Flexible Display Market by Application (Smartphone, Tablet, E-reader, Laptop, TV, Smartcard, Wearable Display), Technology (OLED, LCD, E-paper), Component (Emissive &Non-emissive), Material (Polymer, Glass, GRP) & Geography – Forecast & Analysis to 2013 – 2020
Dielectric Material Market by Technology (OLED, LED, TFT-LCD, LED-LCD, Plasma, LCOS, DLP), Application (Conventional, 3D, Transparent, Flexible), Material (Metal Oxide, a-Silicon, LTPS, PET, PEN, Photonic Crystals) & by Geography – Global Forecast to 2013 – 2020
MarketsandMarkets is a global market research and consulting company based in the U.S. We publish strategically analyzed market research reports and serve as a business intelligence partner to Fortune 500 companies across the world.
MarketsandMarkets also provides multi-client reports, company profiles, databases, and custom research services. M&M covers thirteen industry verticals, including advanced materials, automotives and transportation, banking and financial services, biotechnology, chemicals, consumer goods, energy and power, food and beverages, industrial automation, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, semiconductor and electronics, and telecommunications and IT.
(Re-Posted Article: by Heidi Milkert · June 30, 2014: Original Post in Va. Tech NT News) Quantum mechanics, it’s certainly an intriguing and almost spooky field, but over the next decade or two we will see a major shift in the understanding and utilization of the various applications of quantum physics. One company based in San Marcos, Texas is already working on 3D printing technologies which are within the quantum realm.
Quantum Materials Corporation has been researching and producing quantum dots for several years now. Quantum dots are the tiny little nanocrystals which are produced from semiconductor materials. They are so tiny, that they take on quantum mechanical properties. Today the company announced that they have secured a specific type of quantum dot technology which has been developed by the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science and the Design, Research, and Education for Additive Manufacturing Systems (DREAMS) Laboratory at Virginia Tech.
The technology is based around a patented process which embeds tiny quantum dots into products during a 3D printing process, so that their manufacturers can detect counterfeits. The quantum dots are embedded in such a way that they create an unclonable signature of sorts. Only the manufacturers of the products which have these signatures embedded, know what they should be, making it easy for them to detect illegal copies. Such a security feature would work well within a variety of markets.
“The remarkable number of variations of semiconductor nanomaterials properties QMC can manufacture, coupled with Virginia Tech’s anti-counterfeiting process design, combine to offer corporations extreme flexibility in designing physical cryptography systems to thwart counterfeiters, “stated David Doderer, Quantum Materials Corporation VP for Research and Development. “As 3D printing and additive manufacturing technology advances, its ubiquity allows for the easy pirating of protected designs. We are pleased to work with Virginia Tech to develop this technology’s security potential in a way that minimizes threats and maximizes 3D printing’s future impact on product design and delivery by protecting and insuring the integrity of manufactured products.”
The security that such a technique offers is quite high. Not only can Quantum Materials Corporation print quantum dots into object, and have those dots emit specific colors, but they can print the dots into an object shaped in several different ways. In addition the company has the ability to use dual emission tetrapod quantum dots to give off two different colors at once. Such technology should easily slow down product counterfeiting, by giving each product a nanoscale signature, that only its manufacturers know exists.
As 3D printing technology expands, we will find ourselves in a world rife with intellectual property theft. This new quantum dot technology could give companies the ability to 3D print their own products, while maintaining the ability to make sure others are not doing the same with their proprietary designs.