Why it matters: Manufacturers have been including quantum dots in LED displays for a while now, but they’re working on displays that use them exclusively. The technology can become efficient and cheap enough to succeed LCD and OLED while expanding the range of applications for digital displays.
At CES 2023, Nanosys held a “top-secret” demonstration of its latest work on light-emitting quantum dots – a candidate for the next mainstream display technology. Nanosys couldn’t release images of its CES demo, but the potential available could be far-reaching.
Quantum dots are considered extremely efficient because they emit almost all the light they absorb and produce light when energized, emitting different colors depending on their size. Display manufacturers only use red, blue and green quantum dots, but other colors are possible.
Quantum dots are already “Q” in QLED and “QD” in QD-OLED displays. Until now, these photoluminescent quantum dots, which receive energy from light, have played a secondary role compared to more mature display technologies.
Nanosys’ light-emitting quantum dots would only use quantum dots powered by electricity. They could significantly reduce power consumption and production costs while at least achieving the image quality and brightness of QD-OLED.
The CES prototype was just a six-inch screen attached to a complex array of wires, but the light-emitting quantum dots could be scaled to a variety of sizes. Manufacturers could use them for big-screen TVs, smartphone displays, VR headsets and more.
In addition, the efficiency and low-cost nature of light-emitting quantum dots may make them viable for a wide variety of surfaces that do not normally contain displays. Nanosys believes that the technology can significantly advance augmented reality by working with transparent objects.
The Nanosys website contains illustrations depicting heads-up displays, advertisements, and other information about windows, windshields, and other glass materials. CNET speculates that light-emitting quantum dots could show drivers important information on their windshields without taking their eyes off the road, or create AR experiences on otherwise ordinary glasses.
The company admits that direct-viewing electroluminescent quantum dots are likely still years away. The format in which they first appear depends on which display manufacturers are ready to adopt the technology first: TV, phones, virtual reality or something else.