OLED displays are made from organic emitter materials - and are gaining in popularity as these next-generation displays offer excellent image quality and novel form factors. The OLED display market is estimated at over $25 billion in 2018 - and is set for fast growth.
Quantum Dots are tiny particles that have excellent photonic emission properties - and are used widely today in many LCD displays as the QD photoluminescence features enable the conversion of blue LED light to red and green light to create full-color displays that are better than white-backlit LCDs. QD particles can also be used to create emissive displays, in which the QDs themselves emit the light - this technology may prove to be the successor to OLEDs as QDs could prove to have higher efficiency and a larger color gamut (narrow spectrum emission).
QD-OLED - hybrid OLED and QD displays
Several companies are looking to develop hybrid displays that use both OLEDs and Quantum Dots. There are several possibilities - to create displays in which some of the emitters are OLEDs and the rest are QDs, or to use QDs to convert blue OLED emission to a full color displays.
Samsung has been developing a hybrid QD-OLED TV technology, that adopts blue OLED emitters and quantum-dots that convert the blue light to red and green light.
Samsung hasn't committed yet to this technology, but it is expected that the South Korean display maker will start QD-OLED TV production by the end of 2019.
Samsung plans to convert its L8-1 8.5-Gen LCD fab to QD-OLED production. This will likely begin in the second half of 2019, but this will be a gradual conversion. The L8-1 has a current monthly capacity of 200,000 substrates, and following the conversion the capacity will be around 160,000-180,000 substrates. The mass production ramp-up will begin in 2020, and Samsung's total investment in QD-OLED technology and production in 2019-2021 will reach over 10 trillion Won (around $8.95 billion).
According to our information, Samsung is using a fluorescent blue emitter (will hopefully change to a higher efficiency one in later generations) and ink-jet printed QDs (in collaboration with Kateeva).
In March 2019 it was unveiled that China-based display maker TCL is developing a new hybrid display technology that uses a blue OLED emitter coupled with red and green QD emitters. All three emitter materials will be combined and printed using ink-jet printing technology. TCL calls this technology H-QLED and this could prove to be the technology of choice for TCL's future high-end emissive TV displays.
The latest QD OLED news:
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Korea's The Elec says that Samsung Display aims to start trial runs at its QD-OLED 8.5-Gen production line next month (December 2020).
SDC will brand these displays as QD Displays. The first generation ones will adopt SDC's current hybrid QD-OLED architecture, but later ones may adopt QNED (quantum-rods) emitters. In any case, SDC's plan is to start mass production by the end of 2021, in the first line (15,000 monthly substrates). SDC is also planning a second line to follow the first, to arrive at a total of 30,000 monthly 8.5-Gen substrates.
According to UBI Research from Korea, Samsung Display has managed to improve its quantum dots nanorod LED (QNED) technology, and the company aims to start buying production equipment next year.
Apparently SDC's plan is to replace the fluorescent blue emitters in its QD-OLED TV production process, which will of course turn these TV panels into QD-QNED ones.
In October 2019 Samsung Display formally announced its decision to invest $10.85 billion in QD-OLED TV R&D and production lines. The company is already starting to produce prototypes, and is on track to start mass production in Q3 2021.
But SDC is facing a problem it probably did not anticipate - Samsung Electronics is hesitant about the adoption of QD-OLED panels, and may not ship QD-OLEDs in 2021 - or maybe even at all. Apparently Samsung Electronics wants to focus on microLEDs for next-generation displays as it finds QD-OLED TVs to be not bright enough - and also because it suffers from burn-in issues.
Samsung starts to ship QD-OLED TV prototypes to potential customers, may produce QD-OLED gaming monitors
According to Omdia, Samsung Display has started to provide QD-OLED TV prototypes to potential customers - including Samsung Electronics, Sony and Panasonic. Samsung Display is on track to start mass production in Q3 2021.
Interestingly, Samsung Electronics is still not sure whether it will adopt QD-OLED TVs in 2021, as the company aims to focus on mini-LED panels in 2021, and may only release QD-OLED TVs in 2022.
BOE unveiled a new QD-OLED prototype at SID Displayweek 2020. This new panel is 13.6" in size with a FHD resolution. It supports up to 120 nits and achieves a 100% NTSC color gamut.
This is the first time we hear of BOE's QD-OLED project, this will be interesting to follow.
DSCC updated its OLED material market forecasts, seeing a lower growth ahead. DSCC says the AMOLED stack material market will grow from $928 million in 2019 to $2.06 billion in 2024 in a CAGR of 17%. Only a couple of months ago DSCC estimated that the market in 2024 will reach $2.69 billion - and even these were reduced from earlier estimates due to COVID-19.
DSCC says that the main reason behind the reduction in its forecast is lower OLED TV capacity. The company now expects a slower ramp up at the Guangzhou fab, and LG's P-10 10.5-Gen fab is now removed from the forecast period.
DSCC updated its capacity and demand outlook for the OLED industry. DSCC says that the oversupply situation for smartphone OLEDs will continue to effect the industry for years ahead.
According to DSCC the reason for the oversupply is Samsung's near-monopoly on flexible OLED phone panels - and the fact that the company keeps prices high and prefers high profit margins even though it leads to low utilization rates. DSCC sees China's capacity (which includes LG's Gunagzhou fab) share to rise from 5% in 2017 to 30% in 2020 and finally to 49% in 2025.
Reuters reports that Samsung Display has decided to stop all LCD production by the end of 2020. The company will continue to support it current customers without any issues.
SDC has two LCD production lines in Korea. One of these will be converted to next-generation QD-OLED TV panels (in a $10.8 billion investment announced in October 2019). According to Reuters, the second line will also be converted to QD-OLED in the future. SDC did not yet decide what will it do with its two LCD production lines in China.
Update: It seems we were mistaken, this prototype is not a hybrid QD-OLED, but a 'regular' OLED. This is still an impressive development - a rollable inkjet-printed OLED display.
TCL and Juhua Printing demonstrated a 31" FHD inkjet-printed rollable hybrid QD-OLED TV prototype. The display uses an IGZO (Oxide-TFT) backplane and TCL says that it has an aperture ratio of over 50%, brightness of 200 nits and a 90% DCI-P3 color gamut.
TCL's hybrid display technology (which TCL calls H-QLED) uses a blue OLED emitter coupled with red and green QD emitters. All three emitter materials are combined and printed using ink-jet printing technology.