Quantum dots are finally ready for prime time

Quantum dots are finally ready for prime time and will exceed traditional phosphor revenue by 2020 by allowing LCD to compete with OLED in the race for the next display generation.
Yole Développement (Yole), the “More than Moore” market research and strategy consulting company releases a LED downconverters technology & market report, entitled “Phosphors & Quantum Dots 2015: LED Downconverters for Lighting & Displays”. Under this new report, the company proposes a deep review of the industry, especially the impact of the quantum dots development on the display and traditional phosphors industry. Are the quantum dots a real competitor of OLEDs technology?

After the lukewarm reception of 3D and 4K, the display industry needs a new and disruptive experience improvement to bring consumers back to the store. Image quality perception increases significantly when color gamut and dynamic contrast ratio are improved. Leading movie studios, content providers, distributors and display makers gathered and formed the “UHD Alliance” to promote those features.

“OLED was believed to be the technology of choice for this next generation of displays. But production challenges have delayed the availability of affordable OLED TVs. LCD TVs with LED backlights based on quantum dots downconverters can deliver performance close to, or even better than OLED in some respects, and at a lower cost,” said Dr. Eric Virey, Senior Analyst, LEDs at Yole.

Until OLEDs are ready, QD-LCD have a unique window of opportunity to try to close enough of the performance gap that the majority of the consumers won’t perceive the difference between the two technologies and price would become the driving factor in the purchasing decision. Under this scenario, QD-LCD could establish itself as the dominant technology while OLED would be cornered into the high end of the market. OLED potentially offers more opportunities for differentiation but proponents need to invest massively and still have to resolve manufacturing yield issues. For tier-2 LCD panel makers who can’t invest in OLED, QDs offer an opportunity to boost LCD performance without additional CAPEX on their fabs. At the 2015 CES, 7 leading TV OEMs including Samsung and LG showed QD-LCD TVs.

With tunable and narrowband emissions, QDs offer unique design flexibility. But more is needed to enable massive adoption, including the development of further improved Cd-free compositions.

And traditional phosphors haven’t said their last word. If PFS could further improve in term of stability and decay time and a narrow-band green composition was to emerge, traditional phosphors could also be part of the battle against OLED.

“… LCD TVs with LED backlights based on quantum dots downconverters can deliver performance close to, or even better than OLED in some respects, and at a lower cost.” said Dr. E. Virey, Yole.

Yole’s analysis, “Phosphors & Quantum Dots 2015: LED Downconverters for Lighting & Displays”, presents an overview of the quantum dot LED market for display and lighting applications including quantum dot manufacturing, benefits and drawbacks, quantum dots LCD versus OLED and detailed market forecast.


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2 thoughts on “Quantum dots are finally ready for prime time

  1. Scott Zimmerman

    Like most new technologies there are risks associated with them. Unfortunately I would argue the QD should not be deployed due to the considerable unknown health risks associated with the technology. It is interesting that asbestos is so highly regulated but the nanoparticles are not. Asbestos is regulated on a particle per unit volume of air. If the QDs were judged using a similar standard they would not be used. Instead it would appear that the industry is using a ROHS standard designed to limit the amount of cadmium into the environment from solders and other electronic devices which assumes the heavy metal is in a bulk form. This is of course a absurd argument given that any high purity heavy metal in nanoparticle form can not be compared to a solder or other bulk material. All nanos eventually are airborne. I have yet to see an AMA study that indicates there is not a problem. From a cradle to grave standpoint it would have to be judged irresponsible to allow wide spread release of nanoparticles of heavy metals into the environment. Unfortunately like OLEDs toxicity is judged on only how they are used not based on their impact at end of life. It would be reasonable to assume that QDs will eventually make their way into the environment through manufacturing, disposal, fires, and other means. Unfortunately this will most likely occur in the developing countries with little to no consequence to the companies pushing the technology here.

  2. wuyanbing

    I agree with the author’s view. The difference between OLED and LCD is growing smaller and smaller. for example, with local dimming and OA process, LCD’s CR can reach 1000000:1; with LTPS and Cu process LCD’s light efficiency won’t be far away from OLED; ….. QD will be strong killer to OLED. It can provide higher color gamut than OLED, so that OLED don’t have any strength attractive enough. Moreover, the breakthrouh of QD is much easier than OLED, whose industry chain is too long and complex.

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