Our Competition is in volume production mode with Display Manufactures
According to Jeff Yurek is the Product Marketing Manager at Nanosys Inc.:
Quantum dots for displays and lighting are now entering volume production
LED April 16, 2015 LED phosphors are key elements for the quality of the light, from industrial to automotive applications and also general lighting. Yole Développement has published a new report ("Phosphors & Quantum Dots 2015: LED Downconverters for Lighting & Displays") covering the evolution of these products, both in terms of market and applications but also technology trends, as quantum dots are now entering volume production for display applications and could be adopted as well for lighting applications in the next 3 to 4 years.
We interviewed Nanosys Inc., one of the key developer and manufacturer of quantum dots for display, in order to share with us the evolution of the industry, the trends linked to the adoption of quantum dots and also what will happen in the next years.
Yole Développement: Can you introduce Nanosys history, products and ongoing development projects?
Jeff Yurek: Nanosys is leading the development of quantum dot technology for displays. Since our founding in 2001, we have partnered with leading display makers in creating standout tablets, TVs and smartphones that are thinner, lighter, brighter and more colorful than ever before. Our business model consists of two elements: 1) we sell Quantum Dot Concentrate™ materials and 2) technology licensing of component designs, like our Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF®), to industrial supply chain partners
While most of the innovative work we do can be measured in atomic units, the true impact of our technology advancements reach far beyond the beautiful and vibrant devices consumers hold in their hands. Nanosys has blazed a strategic path in quantum dot technology by developing one of the largest quantum dot patent portfolios with nearly 300 issued and pending patents worldwide. Our patents cover everything from the fundamentals of quantum dot construction to component and manufacturing designs. This extensive portfolio is the result of collaborations between Nanosys and prestigious universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Lawrence Berkeley National Labs and Hebrew University, as well as industry collaborations with companies like Philips-Lumileds and Life Technologies.
We've partnered with some of the biggest names in tablets and televisions to bring our technology to everyday consumers including 3M, Samsung, Sharp and LG. Working closely with these leading companies has given us insight into the tough engineering problems they face. At Nanosys we're dedicated to generating value for both the manufacturing companies and the consumer. We understand that being a leader in quantum dots takes more than simply making the best quantum dot technology and scaling it -- it takes an understanding of how to easily incorporate this technology into manufacturing processes. The result is products that are practical, commercializable, cost effective and set a new standard in color performance.
Nanosys is headquartered in Milpitas, California, in a state-of-the-art 60,000 square foot manufacturing, research and development facility. One of the largest in the world, our site has an initial installed production capacity of over 25 tons of our Quantum Dot Concentrate™ or enough material for approximately 10 million TVs per year.
QDEF®, Nanosys first major commercial product is shipping today in volume in consumer electronics devices and it's just the beginning. We have many innovative quantum dot products in the pipeline for 2015 and beyond that will continue to drive Nanosys' leadership position in the display industry.
YD: What are the products proposed by the company, what is in volume production or in qualification at customers?
JY: Nanosys manufactures Quantum Dots in high volume today. We recently announced that our state-of-the-art nanomaterials fab in Silicon Valley can produce 25 tons of Quantum Dot materials per year. That's enough Quantum Dots for 6 million 60" TVs. This flexible manufacturing line is also designed to produce Quantum Dots both with and without Cadmium without requiring major retooling.
YD: What are the advantage of quantum dots compared to the other technologies?
JY: Quantum Dots are the world's most efficient light emitting technology. Compared to other emitters like conventional LED phosphors and OLED Quantum Dots offer significantly better color performance and power efficiency. With Quantum Dots it is possible to make displays that are more colorful, brighter and more power efficient than ever before.
YD: Displays are the first killer application for quantum dots. What is your opinion on the added value of quantum dots for displays?
JY: Quantum Dots are bringing a whole new level of viewing experience to displays. With Quantum Dots it is now possible to experience the full benefits of UHD including resolution, color range (rec.2020 color gamut) and high dynamic range (HDR).
Samsung's SUHD TVs are a perfect example of this. With Quantum Dots they are able to offer both wide color gamut and peak brightness of 1,000 nits– that's 2-2.5X brighter than TVs today. It may sound extreme but it actually makes for an incredible viewing experience where specular highlights and explosions truly pop! The sort of "Pepsi challenge demo" that Samsung put on pitting Quantum Dots against Plasma, OLED and LED really showed off what this is all about (see image below). That level of performance is not possible without Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) no other light emitting technology is efficient enough to do it.
(Courtesy of Nanosys)
YD: The reviews for Samsung first UHD TV on the market based on quantum dots are stellar with most reviewers indicating that picture quality exceeds that of current OLED TVs on the market. But this set retails for $6000, do you think Quantum Dots can find their way toward lower end or even entry level sets while still offering a disruptive image improvement?
JY: Absolutely. We're really proud to see what Samsung has done with our Quantum Dot technology in their SUHD TVs. If you haven't seen one, the image quality is truly stunning.
In terms of adoption, I think what we are seeing is an inflection year in 2015 where Quantum Dots are being introduced into premium products at the top of the TV market first. Going forward, in 2016 and beyond, we will start to see Quantum Dots working their way across the entire market. The way we look at this is that it's very much like the past couple of LCD backlight innovations. Take a look at the transition from CCFL to LED for example. LED brought an improved experience in terms of thinness, power efficiency and brightness and in about five years it was the de facto backlight technology for the whole market. Today with Quantum Dots are bringing a whole new level of experience with the UHD rec.2020 color gamut, high brightness (HDR) and power efficiency. It's a recipe for another revolution in display technology and it will move fast.
By the way, you can pick up a Samsung SUHD with our Quantum Dot tech for as little as $2500 on Amazon today. Certainly not cheap but there are a range of prices.
YD: What is the status of Nanosys product on the display market?
• 2013: Kindle Fire HDX 7
• 2014: ASUS Zenbook NX500 (15.6" 4K notebook) initial run sold out in 2 weeks but now shipping and available
o Samsung SUHDs to feature QD technology licensed by us to Samsung
o Hisense announced a TV with QDEF from Nanosys and 3M (more). 65" will come to market in spring for $3000
o AUO announced a range of Quantum Dot TV displays at CITE in Shenzhen this week that feature QDEF from Nanosys (more)
o At CES, a number of other companies showed off demos with QDEF from Nanosys and 3M including: TCL (local dimming wide color gamut model used QDEF), Changhong, Skyworth and Sharp. Have a page up on our site with images of some of these demos (more).
YD: Do you think the technology could also compete in lighting? In what timeframe?
JY: Our focus is on the opportunity in front of us in the $120B display market.
YD: Has Nanosys products for the lighting applications?
JY: We're focused on displays today and we currently have no products in the market for general lighting applications.
YD: Cadmium seems to be a no-go for some of the major TV OEM. What's the status of Cd-Free Quantum Dots? Will they ever rival the Cd based compositions?
JY: We make Quantum Dots based on a number of different materials systems. Different materials sets provide different performance characteristics and so the dots we ship vary from customer to customer. At CES, you saw a mix of both Cadmium and non-Cadmium materials systems from Nanosys. Everything we make, whether it is Cadmium or Indium-based, is compliant with major global environmental regulations including RoHS, REACH and EPA and is ready to ship to markets around the world. We are the only company serving markets with both technologies.
However, in some markets there is a perceived value in avoiding materials containing Cadmium. Additionally, an objective of Nanosys is to establish a new environmental standard for displays by eliminating the use of heavy metals in our products by 2018. For this reason we are excited to announce major breakthroughs in performance and mass production quantities for so called Cadmium free or Indium based Quantum Dots.
YD: Are you working on QD LEDs? Is there a real potential for future display applications or are there some fundamental barriers?
JY: Can't comment on specific future development plans here other than to say Nanosys is focused on driving a roadmap of innovative Quantum Dot integration technologies and materials systems.
YD: Besides LEDs, what could be the next killer app for quantum dots?
JY: There are a variety of interesting applications for Quantum Dots but I actually think the next killer app will also be found in the display industry. There is just a tremendous roadmap for Quantum Dots in display applications. With future iterations of the technology, including new material and integration methods, there's an opportunity here to more than triple the efficiency of displays, to dramatically change the way displays are made, reducing cost and complexity while bringing consumers some exciting new viewing experiences. I think it's likely that the next big disruption in displays will come from Quantum Dots as well.
YD: Can you describe what will be the next steps of the development of Nanosys?
JY: We will continue to scale our industry-leading manufacturing capacity to meet increasing demand. We're also focused on developing an innovative roadmap of materials and display integration technologies with the aim of making displays brighter, more colorful, and more power efficient.
Quantum Dots virtuous adoption cycle (Yole Développement, April 2015)
Jeff Yurek is the Product Marketing Manager at Nanosys. He writes a blog on emerging display technologies (http://www.nanosysinc.com/dot-color/) about which he notes: "Because I'm in the display business, I notice a lot of confusion and loosely used definitions in the discussion of display technologies. My aim is to synthesize information I've accumulated in order to provide a useful resource on the science, software, engineering and art that go into making the displays we all use every day so amazing." Jeff has advanced degrees from the Berklee College of Music and Suffolk University's Sawyer School of Management.