Regulatory Update, January 2015: RoHS compliance for Quantum Dot display components expanded and extended by European Union

RoHS compliance for Quantum Dot display components expanded and extended by European Union

Nanosys is committed to developing safe products that provide a net benefit to the environment. All Nanosys Quantum Dot products are compliant with major global environmental regulations including RoHS, REACH and TSCA and are ready to ship to markets around the world.

After careful review and an independent study by the Oeko Institute for Applied Ecology, the European Commission has granted an exemption to the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS 2) Directive for Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE). According to the Delegated Directive:

The evaluation showed that the use of quantum dots in displays has indeed a positive overall impact due to their low energy consumption. Quantum dots are a new technology that will replace older colour converting designs in many applications in the near future. The elimination of quantum dots via design changes is technically impracticable, as they are a new and superior technology. 
The use of cadmium in downshifting cadmium based semiconductor nanocrystal quantum dots for use in display lighting applications should therefore be exempted from the prohibition until 30 June 2018.


More information on the Oko Institue for Applied Ecology's Report on Cadmium Containing Quantum Dots for the European Commission

In the spring of 2014, the European Union undertook a thorough review of the REACH and RoHS regulations that govern components containing cadmium-based Quantum Dots for display applications. With the first Quantum Dot displays coming to market in 2013 and the existing governing regulation, known as exemption 39, being automatically extended until July 2015 by appeal, there was an increased interest to be certain there were no new or unknown risks to the environment. A prestigious third party consultant, The Oko Insitute for Applied Ecology, was hired by the EU Commission and an extensive review of the environmental impact of cadmium-based Quantum Dots was undertaken.

After a six-month review process involving input from industry stakeholders, European governments and expert testimony, “The [Oko Institute] conclude that the use of Cd in QD films used for solid state lighting and display lighting applications, would thus not weaken the environmental and health protection afforded by the REACH Regulation.”

As a result, Oko recommended that an Exemption allowing the use of Cd-containing quantum dots in display applications be adopted with the following language:

“Cadmium in components for display lighting applications, containing downshifting cadmium based semiconductor nanocrystal quantum dots, where the cadmium per display screen area is limited to less than 0.2 ug/mm2

Extended until 6/30/2018”

This new exemption substantially expands and extends the allowance of Cd-containing quantum dots in three important ways.

  1. New language to make it explicitly clear that the Exemption specifically applies to Quantum Dots for display applications.

  2. The amount of cadmium allowed per display screen area is expanded to 0.2ug/mm2. This language makes it clear that all currently shipping and planned display products using QDEF are compliant by a significant margin. QDEF based displays from Nanosys today contain less than ⅓ of the allowed limit of cadmium.

  3. The new Exemption effectively extends the allowance for 42 months until January 7, 2018 with a new 12 month review to begin on January 7, 2017. If alternative solutions are not available at that time, it is highly likely that the Exemption will be continued.

More information on the review process, detailed opinion authored by the Oko Institute and the European Commission's Directive can be found at the following links:

Environmental benefits of QDEF

Nanosys is committed to developing safe products that provide a net benefit to the environment. QDEF-based LCD systems achieve this goal by producing brighter displays with less power than any other known light emitting technology. By saving power, QDEF reduces the need to burn fossil fuels resulting in a net decrease in pollutants such as carbon dioxide, Mercury and cadmium. In fact, each sheet of QDEF contains such a small amount of cadmium and is so power efficient that the technology can actually decrease the amount of cadmium in the environment through reduced emissions at power plants, as the burning of coal releases elemental cadmium into the air.

Nanosys has also undertaken extensive testing to prove that QDEF is safe both to workers, consumers and the environment. Each sheet of QDEF contains a trace amount of cadmium sealed within an epoxy matrix and contained inside barrier sheet. Under EPA standardized leach testing, no heavy metals were leached. As a result, QDEF requires no special waste handling instructions and can be recycled or disposed in the same manner as other consumer electronics products.