Quantum-Dot Displays: Giving LCDs a Competitive Edge through Color

One area where LCDs have thus far failed to match OLEDs is color performance.  Conventional LCDs face a ceiling in color performance, at best reaching the sRGB color gamut, or about 70% of OLED’s capability, because of the white LED light source used in most LCD backlights.  While LCD makers have experimented with other wide-gamut backlight technologies, such as discrete RGB LED and CCFL, all have proven too costly, too power hungry, or too bulky to be viable.  For some time, it seemed that high brightness, portability, and wide-gamut color performance simply could not be had in the same LCD package at the same time.

That was until a new class of phosphor material called quantum dots became available to LCD makers.  First developed in the 1980s at Bell Labs, quantum dots have the unique ability to efficiently emit light at a single spectral peak with narrow line width, creating highly saturated colors.  In addition, the emission wavelength can be tuned continuously based on the size of the quantum dots.  This capability enables display designers to custom engineer a spectrum of light to maximize both the efficiency and color performance of their display.