These days, screens are everywhere, from tablets, to smartphones, to TVs. Display screen quality is becoming increasingly important each day. A giant leap came with the advent of liquid crystal displays (LCDs), screens lit up by an array of LEDs. Now another display revolution is under way. Quantum dots are minute particles with sizes in the order of nanometres that emit different colours depending on their size, and as a display technology offer multiple advantages compared to current designs. “Quantum dots are used in displays as colour-converting agents which absorb the energy from blue light and emanate it as green or red light depending on the size and composition of the material,” explains Evren Mutlugün, associate professor at Abdullah Gül University, and co-founder of NANOME. Quantum dot technology is a huge development in display technologies, opening up advancements in both colour choice and quality. Over the next decade, the market size for quantum dots in lighting, display, energy and biotechnology fields is expected to grow to over USD 20 billion. The EU-funded COENCO Display project has been working on a groundbreaking enhancement to LCD displays, a colour-enriching nanocoating that allows for implementing quantum dot technology on smartphone and tablet screens. “COENCo Display replaces current low-performing colour-converting elements in displays which suffer from poor purity and low stability with quantum dots,” says Hilmi Volkan Demir, professor at Nanyang Technological University and Bilkent University UNAM and the other co-founder of NANOME.
The technology is designed to replace phosphor layers used in conventional LCD screen backlighting, where displays are illuminated from behind the screen, or from its edges. Without this backlight, LCD displays cannot generate images and remain in the dark. So the quality and colour of an image is directly correlated with the quality of the screen backlight. Quantum dot displays are equipped with energy-efficient blue LEDs, and red and green colour-converting nanomaterials. The common method in quantum dot displays is to embed an additional nanomaterial plastic layer into the panel to generate red and green colour components. In CoENCo Display, colour-converting quantum dots are applied as a thin coating to the part of the backlighting unit itself. “Conventional methods cannot be applied to small-sized displays due to size restrictions. Our approach implements quantum dot technology into small-sized devices without thickening the display panel with an additional film,” notes Mutlugün, COENCO Display project coordinator. This reduces the cost, as one barrier film used by competitors is proven unnecessary. This also means the screens can be produced thinner, an attractive prospect for smartphone makers. “Our method accelerates the penetration of quantum dot displays into the market,” adds Demir.
COENCO Display, smartphone, quantum, dots, technology, revolution, display