Nanoco Group PLC

Nanoco’s QD Display Roadmap at the 2017 Quantum Dots Forum

Published on 7/4/2017

We at Nanoco believe it’s absolutely essential that materials developers such as ourselves be mindful of what the consumer expects. That’s why whether it’s displays, lighting or any other products that feature our innovative cadmium-free quantum dots, we seek to understand what drives decisions to replace current technology, and why one solution is chosen over another. In display, consumers look for colorful, bright, efficient, safe and sustainable displays. As an industry, we translate this demand into specifications and standards.

As we saw at CES this year, where Nanoco showcased our sustainable quantum dot technology in display prototypes from TPV PhilipsTCL, and Hisense, quantum dots are hot right now in HDR 4K TV displays. The clarity and color being achieved with this technology are truly remarkable, as you can see here.

But while the picture ahead for quantum dots in display is definitely a beautiful one, a few hurdles remain. Recently I had the opportunity to present during the 2017 Quantum Dots Forum in San Diego. The forum brings together leaders in a wide array of quantum dot applications and I was thrilled to share Nanoco’s vision for the future of sustainable quantum dots in display (and beyond).

It’s no secret quantum dots have a bright future—including applications in display, lighting, healthcare and more. But it’s becoming increasingly critical that quantum dot materials must be sustainable. Restrictions on the use of cadmium and other heavy metals in household electronics are forcing manufacturers to pivot to accommodate these important and necessary regulations. Regardless of the outcome of continued debate in the EU regarding the RoHS exemption (a move that would unnecessarily reintroduce cadmium into the EU market), it’s clear that sustainability is not just an option—it is an imperative.

From LCD to OLED to QLED, there’s a greater variety of display technology than ever before in the market. Competition is relentless, so despite its current dominant market share, LCD must continue to evolve and take full advantage of advances in technologies such as quantum dots. Price cutting and performance improvement are the norm, so manufacturers must distinguish themselves when it comes to quality as brilliance and clarity are improving across the board. This is where Nanoco’s quantum dot roadmap truly begins. Not only are our cadmium-free CFQD® quantum dots sustainable, they’re also closing the gap in picture quality between LCD and OLED technology.

It starts with displays and film. Quantum dot films increase in color gamut and brightness while getting thinner and less expensive. From here, quantum dots must migrate up the supply chain and integrate more closely with the panel to improve performance—first as color converters in color filters to improve brightness, efficiency, color gamut and viewing angle. Combine this with an improvement in black levels and LCD technology could easily exceed the performance of the more cost prohibitive OLED technology.

To deliver on this promise, quantum dots need to be both sustainable and manufacturable at large scale. Nanoco’s seeding technology provides such a path with a process that is inherently more stable and scalable. At a recent investor forum, Samsung shared that it’s able to produce 800 TVs worth of quantum dots with one 500 L reactor per day.  Nanoco’s technology is already more productive than this. Over the last 18 months, we have increased the productivity of our process 5-10x and we expect more gains on the near horizon.

At Nanoco, we see a bright and colorful quantum dot future. That future is in part enabled by the ongoing massive investment in new LCD capacity. To realize this potential, materials must be sustainable and require manufacturing scale that’s commensurate with market scale. Nanoco’s cadmium-free CFQD® quantum dots and seeding technologies enable both. We know only sustainable quantum dots can realize and deliver upon the performance improvement roadmap of LCDs, today and into the future.

Author: Dr. Brian Gally – Application Director, Nanoco