3M and Nanosys to Develop Quantum Dot Technology to Widen LCD's Colour Gamut

3M and Nanosys to Dramatically Improve Colors on Consumer Electronic Displays

by Anton Shilov
06/07/2012 | 09:25 PM

Nanosys. and the optical systems division of 3M are joining their developments to provide wide color gamut technology for consumer electronic displays, allowing liquid crystal displays to display 50% more color.

 

Over the years, various technologies from 3M and other companies have enabled better LCD performance. However, color performance of LCD’s has gone largely unchanged: current LCDs are limited to displaying 35% or less of the visible color spectrum. This means the viewing experience on an LCD is vastly different than what a person sees in the real world. Wide color gamut displays will allow consumers to enjoy more visceral, more immersive and truer to life color.

3M and Nanosys will work together to commercialize Nanosys’ quantum dot enhancement film (QDEF) technology, a drop-in film that LCD manufacturers can integrate with existing production processes. QDEF utilizes the light emitting properties of proprietary quantum dot phosphors to create an ideal backlight for LCDs - one of the most critical factors in the color and efficiency performance of LCDs. LCD displays with QDEF technology use less energy and cost significantly less than other high performance display technology like OLED.

Unlike conventional phosphor technologies such as YAG that emit with a fixed spectrum, quantum dots can actually convert light to nearly any color in the visible spectrum. Pumped with a blue source, such as the GaN LED, they can be made to emit at any wavelength beyond the pump source wavelength with very high efficiency (over 90% quantum yield) and with very narrow spectral distribution (only 30 – 40nm FWHM). The real magic of quantum dots is in the ability to tune the color output of the dots, by carefully controlling the size of the crystals as they are synthesized so that their spectral peak output can be controlled within 2nm to nearly any visible wavelength.

“Combining the world class-technology and materials expertise of Nanosys with the engineering, design and supply chain capabilities of 3M will unlock a powerful new color viewing experience for consumers,” said Jim Bauman, vice president of the optical systems division at 3M.

A quantum dot, which is 10 000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, can emit light at a very precise wavelength. The ability to control the spectral output of a quantum dot allows QDEF to create an ideal white backlight specifically designed for LCDs. Trillions of these quantum dots are packaged into a thin film that fits inside an LCD backlight unit. QDEF replaces a similar film already found inside LCD backlights, which means that adding QDEF to manufacturing processes requires no new equipment or process changes for the LCD manufacturer. The two companies did not indicate the cost of QDEF films.

“We are working together to improve an area of display performance that has been largely neglected for the last decade. Improving color performance for LCDs with drop-in solutions will bring a stunning new visual experience to the consumer and a competitive advantage to the LCD manufacturer against new display technologies such as OLED. Working together with 3M and utilizing their outstanding design and supply chain capabilities will allow our QDEF technology to be widely deployed across all product segments and will ensure availability to all customers,” said Jason Hartlove, president and chief executive officer of Nanosys.