Quantum dots to brighten LCD colors next year

The colors in notebook LCD displays are poised to get a little richer thanks to quantum dots. 3M and Nanosys have created a plastic film that combines cadmium quantum dots with tiny spheres of indium-phosphide. The film replaces a display’s diffuser, and it purportedly allows LCDs to produce brighter images with more vivid colors. MIT’s Technology Review has the goods on the screen tech, which should start popping up in notebooks next year.

Unfortunately, the story mentions 15.6″ notebooks specifically. Looks like smaller displays aren’t in the cards just yet, and there’s no mention of desktop panels. Both should be possible, though. The quantum-dot-infused film is reportedly inexpensive to produce, and because it replaces an existing LCD component, the layer should be easy to integrate into existing manufacturing lines. We’ll see screens equipped with the technology as early as next year, Technology Review says.

Display quality has become a hot topic in the PC world, no doubt thanks to the fact that tablet makers are embracing IPS displays. Quantum dots should make the superior color reproduction of IPS panels even more pleasing, and they could make TN panels more bearable. I’d expect battery life savings, as well. The quantum-dot layer reportedly allows more light through than traditional designs, which should allow displays to get by with dimmer backlights. That will help high-PPI panels in particular, since the smaller pixels of those displays require more illumination than larger pixels.

Comments closed
    • moresmarterthanspock
    • 7 years ago

    Do we really need more vivid colors? Colors are already over-exaggerated and richer than in real life. Look at a flower on one of today’s displays, and then go look at a flower out in the garden. We have crossed the line from real life to Alice in Wonderland.

    • jackbomb
    • 7 years ago

    So will these quantum dots intensify fits of bacon unicorn fueled ecstasy?

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      No, riding a bacon unicorn has an intensity of infinity; It cannot be intensified further.

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 7 years ago

        That’s not quite true, some infinities grow faster than other infinities or have more inclusive infinite sets.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]The quantum-dot layer reportedly allows more light through than traditional designs, which should allow displays to get by with dimmer backlights.[/quote<] One step forwards, two steps back.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      Dimmer backlighs = longer battery life.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    Quantum dots, eh? Marketing folks will be all over this.

      • Theolendras
      • 7 years ago

      Done already I’d say.

      • internetsandman
      • 7 years ago

      Anytime engineering does anything remotely impressive, marketing completely borks the meaning and multiplies the significance so much that anyone who knows what they’re talking about (such as said engineers) wonder why they bothered in the first place

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]they could make TN panels more bearable[/quote<] [b<]Nothing[/b<] can make poor TN panels bearable. Many laptop panels have such awful vertical viewing angles that, as you tilt back the screen, the colours start to invert at the top of the image before the bottom half of the screen has stopped looking washed out. There will be a thin band of [i<]acceptable[/i<] image quality in the middle of the screen only, and it doesn't matter how awesome you make the colours with a bunch of quantum dots, two-thirds of the picture on a cheap TN screen is still going to look bad.

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 7 years ago

      There are better quality TN screens that have reasonable viewing angles.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        Yep, but few of these are used on the multitude of laptops available on the market.

        Unless you’re running a 120Hz or super-fast response gaming screen, eIPS has made cheap TN screens redundant, so TN is almost worthless on the desktop.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Cadmium + touchscreen = win!

      • anotherengineer
      • 7 years ago

      Indeed!!

      mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Cadmium

      I have held both Cadmium and Indium in my hands (with gloves of course) (worked at a metallurgical plant)

      Both are very similar in appearance and properties, but apparently Cadmium is very toxic compared to Indium (as far as they know so far) and it’s also a lot more inexpensive.

    • Voldenuit
    • 7 years ago

    On a quantum dot display, the pixels are simultaneously dead and alive… until you open the shipping box.

      • yogibbear
      • 7 years ago

      Which begs the question, do you open the box and risk the unsatisfaction of faulty dots? Or you you buy one and leave it in the box, knowing that at any point in time it may or may not be functional.

        • Grigory
        • 7 years ago

        Both of you jokers need to get kicked so hard square in the nuts that your wave functions collapse.

        Just kidding. 🙂

        • Haserath
        • 7 years ago

        If you never open the box, will you have satisfaction that you may have had a working display or unsatisfaction that you never got to use the working display?

          • BIF
          • 7 years ago

          If you never open the box, how are you going to feed the cat?

      • Neutronbeam
      • 7 years ago

      And you can either know where the pixels OR if they’re turned on–but not both at the same time.

        • yogibbear
        • 7 years ago

        Please explain how that display works? If anything it sounds like it won’t display anything cause when you look at it the picture is either a mess or the pixels are dead? :/

          • Alchemist07
          • 7 years ago

          Quantom Dots dont have anything to do with being dead or alive at the same time, they are considered “quantum” because they are so small that at that size they have effects that are goverened by quantum mechanics rather than classical physics..

            • BloodSoul
            • 7 years ago

            Why so serious?

            But really, this is just a silly Schrodinger’s cat reference, I’m pretty sure they realize that the pixels aren’t simultaneously dead and alive through quantum superposition.

            • Alchemist07
            • 7 years ago

            Was just enlightening yogibbear…also im a nanoscientist so… 😛

            • internetsandman
            • 7 years ago

            Your name begs to differ

            • Meadows
            • 7 years ago

            As does his typing.

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      At which point you discover each pixel is actually a cat

        • BIF
        • 7 years ago

        Damn, stole my thunder.

      • BloodSoul
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3qc3jd/[/url<]

    • cegras
    • 7 years ago

    Still not sure why they think bringing cadmium back is a good idea. Guess these will never get into EU.

      • Chandalen
      • 7 years ago

      Those pesky RoHS people will definitely have something to say about that! I don’t blame them either to be quite frank. Side note: I spent 6 months testing all of a certain audio companies products to determine compliance. Quite the frustrating job it was when the only equipment I had was an XRF testing machine.

    • jstern
    • 7 years ago

    I can’t believe it’s 2012 and I’ve yet to see a laptop with a better screen than my 2003 Dell laptop. In 2007 I bought a Macbook, and I didn’t even bother researching the screen because I just assumed 4 years had been a long time, but no. (I paid $200 extra for that screen on that Dell).

      • DancinJack
      • 7 years ago

      I find this a little hard to believe. What kind of screen is it?

        • yogibbear
        • 7 years ago

        Xylene coated unobtainium with xenomorph hexagonal dioptrics.

        • jstern
        • 7 years ago

        Dell UltraSharp. And I understand how you find it hard to believe, the same way I was absolutely shocked and disappointed when I got my MacBook, and other laptops. Note that I paid $200 extra from the original screen. It was 15 inches, not wide screen, 1600 x 1200. Inspiron 8200 was the model name. Like this video [url<]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV2OIMyhnYQ&feature=g-upl[/url<]

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          Yep, I have a seven or eight-year-old 15″ Latitude D810 with a 1920×1200 VA or IPS screen. It’s simply incredible and I am not exaggerating when I say that I have not seen a nicer laptop screen to date.

          The new MBP Retina is very nice, and definitely sharper, but the >2MP on this dell is more than sharp enough for me, has a better contrast ratio and is matte, not gloss. On top of that, It doesn’t suffer from off-angle IPS glow like the retina and I believe it uses either a CCFL or RGB LED’s to give it a higher colour gamut than the “holy grail” Retina display’s white LED’s.

          [b<]Screens took a serious step backwards in the last five years, and we're [i<]only just starting[/i<] to recover from the damage.[/b<]

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    The most amazing 1366×768-worth of pixels you’ve ever seen.

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