Quantum dots also commonly go by the names nanocrystals, QD, or Qdots, and mention of them has been all over CES this past year. They can exhibit quantum mechanical properties because they are very small. Alexey Ekimov was the first person to ever make the discovery of quantum dots. This took place in a glass matrix in the year 1981, and four years later in 1985, Louis E. Brus discovered them in colloidal solutions. Mark Reed was the person who named them “quantum dots.”
Quantum dots have been considered for a myriad of different purposes. A few examples include LEDs, transistors, diode lasers, solar cells, and even medical imaging. They have in fact been around during the 1990s, used then in lighting technology. The release of the Sony XBR X900A series was the first time quantum dots were released commercially. This took place in 2013 when the flat panel televisions were officially released. Recently, in the last couple of years, quantum dots have begun to be utilized by TV makers.
What exactly are these new TVs? They are essentially a new kind of LED-backlit LCD TV. In one way they are made a lot like an LCD screen, but the color is much better due to the quantum-dot technology. Just like LCD TVs, the blue LED light is responsible for the blue hues, but the quantum dots create the green and red lights. Quantum dots are excellent at emitting color, broadcasting the colors at much higher quality. The size of each quantum dot actually determines color, and overall they are all quite small and all are similar in shape as well as size, but the larger ones emit a red hue and the smaller ones emit a green hue. The bigger ones are about 50 atoms in diameter, and the smaller ones are only about 30.
Aside from being the source of better colors, quantum dots also have a higher efficiency at a lower cost, both of which are also attractive to TV buyers and TV manufacturers alike. 4K TVs used to be the big thing, and they’ve gone from costing 4 grand a few years ago to costing only about 1 grand now. Of course, now manufacturers and consumers are on the prowl for the next high-end thing, and from the looks of it it’s going to involve quantum dot technology. While the last 4K sets had an abundance of pixels, now the focus is not only on quantity, but quality of the pixels.
The highlight of quantum dot technology is that colors are brighter, more accurate, and even more saturated, meaning that there is much less light being wasted. Of course, the next big question on the agenda is how expensive is this new colorful technology going to be? The good news is that they will ultimately cost less than OLED TVs because they don’t cost as much to make. OLED TVs do still have the advantage in some areas, such as the contrast and wide viewing angles, but quantum dot technology will definitely have an edge on the color-end which is still a major plus.