Quantum Dot Technology: A More Affordable Alternative to OLED

OLED TVs voluptuous curves and high image quality is failing to entice consumers, mainly due to its high price tag. Even the cheapest 55” OLED TV on the market released by Samsung still costs nearly US$ 9,000. But buyers after vibrant colors and HD image should not be discouraged as quantum dot technology might help drive down Ultra High Definition (UHD) LCD TV costs.

QD Vision, a U.S. based quantum dot manufacturer founded in May 2005 has partnered with Sony to make affordable 2K/4K UHD TV, according to John Ho, Advanced Development Manager, QD Vision during his presentation at LEDforum Taipei 2013 at Evergreen International Convention Center on Oct. 16, 2013. Sony XBR-65X900A 55” 4K UHD TV that debuted in May this year costs about US$ 3,299, nearly a third of the price of the same sized Samsung’s OLED TV. Costs for 55” QD TV ranges between US$ 2,000 for FHD and US$ 3,999 for UHD, which is much lower than US$ 9,000 to US$ 15,000 for same sized OLED TVs. Quantum dot TVs have 100% NTSC color gamut market performance.

So how does quantum dot technology work? A quantum dot is a semiconductor crystal structure consisting of a core, shell and ligands. The shell made of Zinc Sulfide (ZnS) or Cadium Sulfide (CdS) is necessary because it helps stabilize the core, said Ho. Due to its physic properties the size of the core will determine the actual color it emits. Quantum dot components are chemically synthesized, and light energy plays an important role in activating the quantum dots. At 140 degrees Celsius, quantum dots can even outperform red phosphor.

According to Ho’s presentation the different form factors also has an impact on implementation costs. On-edge solutions has more benefits over film as it helps to reduce QD consumption, has lower cost barrier materials (glass tubes instead of multilayer barrier film), and cost scales with linear edge. The solution can also operate at higher flux and temp conditions.

QD Vision has shown its ambition in other applications other than LCD TV. QD Vision aims to take the technology to LCD Monitor BLUs, All-in-One Computers, laptops, tablets, cellphones and lighting re-entry in the near future. LED manufacturers should watch out for this new technology that competes head-to-head with OLEDs.

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