Samsung researchers have developed the first full-color quantum dots display, a discovery that could lead to more energy-efficient screens for mobile devices. Quantum dot displays consume less than a fifth of the energy of LCD screens and could be manufactured for less than half of what it costs to make LCD or OLED screens.
Samsung's four-inch diagonal display is controlled using an active matrix, which means each of its color quantum-dot pixels is turned on and off with a thin-film transistor. The researchers have made the prototype on glass as well as on flexible plastic, as reported in Nature Photonics this week. "We have converted a scientific challenge into a real technological achievement," says Jong Min Kim, a fellow at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology.
Quantum dots are semiconductor nanocrystals that glow when exposed to current or light. They emit different colors depending on their size and the material they're made from. Their bright, pure colors and low power consumption make them very appealing for displays. Most computer monitors and TVs use power-hungry liquid-crystal displays (LCDs). Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays are more brilliant and energy-efficient, but are confined to small gadgets because they are too expensive for TV screens, and their organic materials have limited lifetimes.