Quantum Dot is a phenomenon that many of us might be seeing in real life in some of the most common applications, but not be actually aware of its meaning. So what is it, and how has it positioned itself in electronics and medical sectors around the globe?
Ever wondered what made LCD screen colors in laptops, tablets, phones, e-readers, and televisions so vivacious? Would you believe if you were told that these colors were being emitted by tiny dots, called quantum dots? Quantum dots first burst onto the technology scene in 2015, and the appeal, especially in the consumer electronics industry, has only grown since. One of the most common uses of Quantum Dot displays is in television sets, where it is referred to as QLED. It can be thought of as a direct competitor for OLED TVs, where it holds many advantages over the latter. Quantum dots also find application in other areas such as biology and healthcare. They can be expected to replace single crystal semiconductors that are currently used in camera sensors, solar panels and medical imaging tools.
What Exactly are Quantum Dots?
Quantum dots (QDs) are nanocrystals or tiny particles of a semiconducting material. They are roughly one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair, thus justifying their name. When supplied with energy, these quantum dots start glowing. The color of the quantum dot is determined by its size; so, a smaller one may glow blue, while a larger one may glow red or orange. Quantum Dot Display is simply a display device using QD with semiconductor nanocrystals that results in the production of monochromatic red, blue and green light. Quantum dot displays can replicate up to 93% of the colors that are visible in the natural world and are highly energy efficient.
QDs, when exposed to suitable light, turn luminous, generating very pure color. Quantum dot display brightness is 10 to 20 times more than organic dyes. When grouped together in designated sizes, and combined with a blue LED light source, they transmit light across the whole bandwidth which is required for optimal TV viewing. As the semiconductor material shrivels to quantum-dot level, the ‘light wavelength’ material changes from insulator to conductor.
Benefits and Applications
Quantum Dot displays are used in biological imaging, renewable energy, optoelectronics, security, surveillance, and quantum optics. In biological imaging, they are used for in-vitro and in-vivo imaging to detect cancer cells. Across optoelectronics, they are used in LEDs for more vivid color ranges. Quantum particles cells are anticipated to be a renewable source of energy in the future.
As opposed to conventional LCDs, quantum dot displays offer much improved color accuracy. Using this technology, LCDs can offer stiff competition to OLED devices, as they offer comparable color range to the latter. Also, when viewed under direct light or sunlight, Quantum Dot displays offer much more brightness than OLED ones, which is a major advantage. QD LED display devices are incorporated in ultra-flat LCD (liquid crystal display) panels.
Medical devices, sensors, lasers, photovoltaics, chips, LED display devices, and LED lighting devices constitute the market applications. QD displays find ‘imaging’ applications in medical devices, helping detect cancerous cells. Laser devices are used in biological cell-tagging. Photovoltaics are employed in power stations, buildings, solar roadways, transport, and others. Sensors, on the contrary, are adopted for the detection of biochemical & chemical molecules.
Quantum Dot display technology is one of the most exciting technologies around. It is no wonder then, that the market is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Some of the factors aiding in the quantum dot display market growth are:
There is an increased demand for QD-enhanced LED displays around the globe, owing to its comparable and in some ways, better performance than OLED displays, thus leading to market growth.
Energy efficiency, production of more vibrant colors, as well as better brightness are some of the properties that have made quantum dot displays highly desirable in the market.
Continuous improvements in performance of quantum dot displays are being made, with development of high-resolution displays requiring lower power consumption.
With global focus on health and fitness, quantum dot display technology is finding rapid usage in the healthcare field, especially in wearable devices.
Biological imaging, targeting and detection are some more medical applications where quantum dots have found promising application, and significant growth can be expected for this market with regards to usage as an effective alternative to fluorescent probes in biological imaging.
Top manufacturing companies such as Samsung, LG, Sony and TCL are incorporating the technology in their products, which has accelerated quantum dot display market growth for these display devices.
However, with these displays requiring extraction of heavy metals such as cadmium along with other rare earth minerals, which are available in limited quantities, there are stringent Government regulations against their use in manufacture of Quantum Dot display devices, that can hamper future market growth.
Nanoco Group, Quantum Materials Corporation, Nanosys, LG Display, Samsung Electronics Company Limited, Sony Corporation, Dow Chemical Company, QD Laser, Ocean NanoTech, NNCrystal U.S. Corporation, InVisage Technologies, Qlight Nanotech and Altair Nanotechnology Incorporated are the major quantum dot display industry competitors. These companies often resort to collaborations to gain better market traction.
In October 2019, Amtronics announced that the Tech City facility being built in Assam, India will be beginning the production of quantum dots in the first quarter of 2020. The development, manufacturing and commercialization of these quantum dots for the facility, which has a footprint of 75,000 square foot, will be done using technology from Quantum Materials Corporation, through the Joint venture of Amtronics and the Assam Electronics Development Corp Ltd (AMTRON), called Qamronics India.
In July 2019, Nanoco announced that it is working with Professor Sandy MacRobert at the University College London, along with other researchers on discovering better diagnosis and treatment for their pancreatic cancer project. Nanoco has made inroads in making QDs from non-toxic materials, while also trying to figure out a way of using their VIVODOTS™ nanoparticles as fluorescent biomarkers, in order to detect and improve treatment of deadly forms of cancer.
In October 2019, Xiaomi announced that it would be implementing Quantum Dot technology in their upcoming MiTV product line. The TVs will feature QDs from Nanosys and will be available in China from the 5th of November in 55- and 65-inch sizes.
In July 2019, Fujitsu announced a partnership with the Nohgaku Performers' Association with the aim to use ICT for spreading the theater art forms of Noh and Kyogen, as well as expanding the fan base. The two organizations will conduct a trial during the “Essence Noh” event of the ‘Ontenna’, which can be attached to a body part for sensing sound features through light and vibrations, and the RETISSA head-mounted display, manufactured by QD Laser, Inc., which projects an image directly onto the retina.
In-depth report on global quantum dot (QD) display market by Grand View Research:
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