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Color-enriching nano coating for mobile displays

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - COENCO Display (Color-enriching nano coating for mobile displays)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2019-12-01 al 2020-05-31

Displays, in general terms, is an output device to present visual information. The prominent fields of use of displays are; TV sets, monitors and mobile phones. Vast amount of penetration of displays into our life started with the development of liquid crystal display (LCD) technology, lit up by light emitting diodes (LED).

CoENCo Display consists of a color-enriching component for LCDs. The function of this product is to replace the existingly used color converting phosphorus layers used in conventional LCD backlighting. “Backlight” refers to the use of an illumination system in a display device. Backlights, consisting of LEDs are installed behind or at the edge of the display panel, allowing it to illuminate the display. Without a backlight — or any other form of illumination — LCD displays would remain dim and cannot generate any image. Therefore, color or image quality of an LCD display is directly related with the quality of backlight.

We conducted a detailed market research focused on the global markets and ran demos with potential customers with very promising results. These 2 activities combined, allowed us to gather extremely valuable knowledge and update our business model and go-to-market strategy, while strengthening our relationships with all the entities involved in the pilot. The pilot demos showed a highly promising interest in the product translated into agreement on custom prototyping studies between Nanome and its partners. Our business model was also updated together with the corresponding financial projections and potential impact until 2025. The meetings with customers and display industry experts proved that our technology based on color enriching nanoparticles, i.e. quantum dots that offer unprecedented performance in terms of energy efficiency, brightness and color quality in displays, is technologically valid and promising for small-sized LCD screens. However, our target market in small sized displays is saturated with a competitive technology of organic light emitting diodes (OLED). Despite distinct advantages of the LCD platform in which our product could be applied, present conditions in smartphones and other mobile devices pose a barrier for market entrance.

Customer demands, interviews with market experts and extensive market research we carried out during this feasibility study revealed that we should focus on low-cost and durable solutions to implement this revolutionizing technology into displays. In order to meet the demand from industry, we decided to focus on a newly emerging material type: nanoplatelets (NPL). NPLs solve stability issues faced in long term operation and lowers the cost of a project by reducing the material use on account of having higher performance. Moreover, in addition to hybridization of them to LED lighting units in LCDs, this material offers superior integration potential into microLED technology which has opened new avenues in the display industry in the last few years. The exponential rise in the number of patents filed in 2019 is a proof of this growing market potential. MicroLED displays are estimated to be considerably more expensive than current displays due to inherently complex structure. We propose utilizing NPLs to create low-cost hybridized microLED for display applications.
During this feasibility study we successfully executed on all the 5 tasks proposed in our Phase 1 proposal document:
Task 1: Team and infrastructure preparation
Task 2: Confirmation of Final Technical Specifications
Task 3: Market Research
Task 4: Innovation Strategy
Task 5: Business Plan

Top-down and bottom-up approaches were used to validate the size of the global and target market and estimate the size of other dependent submarkets. Various secondary sources such as directories, industry journals, databases and annual reports of the companies and distributors have been used to identify and collect information useful for the study of this market. Primary sources such as experts from various stakeholders and demand sides have been interviewed in person to obtain and validate information as well as to assess the dynamics of this market.A large number of B2B meetings were held and the event was attended.

As a result of all these studies, We concluded that QD on chip is the most feasible method to implement our expertise in QD technology into displays. The following table delineates currently available or technologically validated approaches to employ QD materials in displays. Development of QD on chip products were hindered by technological shortcoming of QD materials. We propose to tackle this problem by solving stability issues and commercializing QD on chip method via aforementioned nanoplatelets. Compared to other methods, much less nanomaterial is required per display unit which in turns lower the cost. Our competitive edge is to provide a low-cost solution for the recently emerging premium microLED display market. MicroLED display is a self-emitting, similar to OLED, display technology where each subpixel is an individual LED chip, much smaller (ca. 10x) in size as compared to regular LEDs used in LCD displays, boosting up resolution for a unique customer satisfaction .
Contrary to free-standing nanocrystal embedded polymeric films, CoENCo display offers direct application of color conversion agents to the light guide plate (LGP). LGP, an essential component for LCD displays, is responsible for directing the backlight emanating from the light source placed at the edge of the screen to the front panel. In our design, LGP is coated with color converting nanocrystals to generate the white backlight.

This technique we use carries several advantages:
i) reduce the cost by eliminating the barrier film on one side
ii) nanocrystals are placed distant from the light source which causes degradation due to high heat
iii) produces thinner LCD displays.