What are quantum dots, and how can they help your next TV?

In January at CES, Sony has announced several LCD TVs with "Triluminos", a new method backlight promise they offered "a rich color and authentic, and excellent reproduction red and green." Digging deeper, it turns Triluminos comprises an optical component produced by QD Vision, Inc. called "IQ Color" which uses quantum dots to help create light.

OK, so these are quantum dots?

Quantum dots are a "semiconductor nanocrystal technology." If you remember your high school (college?) Physics, avail yourself of the wiki page.

If you do not know your valence bands from your conduction band you can think of a quantum dot as follows: small pieces of material with unique properties, including the ability to emit light at wavelengths wave very specific. A bit like microscopic bits of glitter shining green, red or blue depending on their wavelength light size.Specific are good. We need specific wavelengths of light, the more specific the better. All TVs create an image by combining the three additive primary colors: red, green and blue (RGB). Adds strong yellow, a secondary color, but it is not any content and is created by the TV. RGB mixing varying amounts gives us all possible colors in our current TV.

All LCD monitors create colors with these filters. Plasma displays create with phosphors that glow in the desired color (similar to the way CRT TVs worked). OLED, according to the company, one or the other. LG method creates a "white" OLED then adds color filters. Samsung offers specific process red, green, and blue sub-pixel OLED.

So where the quantum dots enter? Sony has a method.

Sony X900 and W900 lines
Three of the 2013 Sony TVs uses quantum dots in their backlight technology under the guise of QD Vision IQ Color (the 65X900, 55X900, and 55W900). A traditional LCD LED uses a blue LED covered with a yellow phosphor to create "white" light. While reasonably effective compared to other technologies (ie CCFL LCD and plasma), which creates a lot of "waste" energy. Orange, for example, is it not past the color filters in front of the TV (instead, red and green are combined to create orange).

Triluminos uses blue LEDs, but instead of coating with a yellow phosphor, the blue LED passes through the optical element containing IQ Color red and green quantum dots. Thus, the blue LED has two functions: to create blue light, but also boost red and green-emitting quantum dots so that they can in turn create the red and green light. Approximately two-thirds of the light created by the blue LED is used to excite the quantum dots. Cool, no? This diagram is a top view of the bottom of one side of two edge-lit LCD screen (the front is "up" in this case, the file is "down"). The top image shows a traditional "white" LED (blue, yellow phosphorus). The bottom image is the method used in Sony Triluminos: a blue LED that passes through the red and green quantum dots. This RGB light bounces off the light guide, and through the liquid crystal and other layers as a regular TV monitor.
(Credit: QD Vision)

If you're curious about how LCD backlight, see Is LCD and LED LCD HDTV uniformity a problem? which images and graphics as backlight works. Oh, and if the "Triluminos" name sounds familiar to you, Sony has used before. This time, as shown, it refers to a technology, the lighting, not the RGB LED backlight and 2008. Sony says that this allows a wide range of colors compared to LCD TVs with LED "white", as in other possible colors. Like all modern TVs are perfectly able to reproduce all the colors of all current HDTV content is a bit of marketing hyperbole.

However, the benefits of which would go beyond cool, futuristic technology and WowNeeto based marketing. When I reviewed lit LED spotlight, I found that the color possible from LED RGB seems more realistic than the same Rec. 709-calibrated color created by the color filters (DLP) or dichromatic mirror (LCD / LCOS) as illuminated by UHP lamps. TV engineer I asked this phenomenon replied: "LEDs are like painting with pure painting."

David Katzmaier our own often noted in its comments on the bluish tint seen on some classic base of LED TVs compared to, say, plasma screens. "It is generally more prevalent in dark areas, but sometimes I see a light blue" coldness "in light and skin tones too. In some cases, I see, despite apparently excellent color measurements of my instruments. '

It is therefore possible that, even with the same colored dots measured quantum dot enhanced displays could produce more realistic colors. Will they? Does the color mixing required to create Rec. 709 points wildly oversaturated color cause other problems? What will be the effect of color filters, which are still needed on LCD screens have this "pure" light? These are questions we can not answer before seeing the X900 series, and televisions future quantum dots.This entire column and not a "Quantum Leap" joke. Oh dammit.The current generation of quantum dot technology requires a primary source of light such as blue LEDs in Triluminos Sony. It will not always be the case. It will be possible to excite the quantum dots directly. This could be a backlight full QD, but it could be more. How about a direct-emissive display like OLED, but instead of Organic Light-Emitting Diodes, it is under-filled pixels of red, green, blue or quantum dots. QD Vision calls it a "QLED," and this may have performance characteristics similar to OLED (as a truly infinite contrast ratio). Will it be easier to produce, deliver better color, or have even lower consumption? At this point, we have no idea. Given the difficulties of producing OLED was just the fact that there is something on the horizon that could potentially offer similar performance is exciting.

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