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Quantum dot LCD panels take on AMOLED

Quantum dot LCD panels are likely to greatly increase in quantity over the next five years, competing with AMOLED in all applications, reports Steve Montgomery.

As the LCD industry matures, industry players find it harder to differentiate their product offerings. AMOLED is competing in key markets such as smartphone and tablet PC displays, partly due to its colour performance. One response to this situation is the adoption of quantum dots, which promise high colour gamut performance, equivalent to AMOLEDs. A quantum dot is a tiny fluorescent semiconductor, one ten-thousandth the width of a human hair. Its size is adjusted electronically to alter light to nearly any other colour.

As Korean and Chinese manufacturers of LCD panels invest resources in developing the technology, DisplaySearch predicts a step rise in the adoption of quantum dot technology across all panel applications, from smartphones to monitor panels and large-format TVs.

The key issue will be how the brands position and market quantum dot technology, and whether wide colour gamut is attractive enough to consumers to enable a price premium. Quantum dot makers are working on solving these issues. Environmental considerations are also a problem as quantum dot technology uses cadmium, a regulated substance requiring exemption for screen use. Technology company Nanoco has already produced cadmium-free quantum dot materials.

The chart shows Forecast quantum dot penetration in LCD TVs.