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:
China-based display maker CSoT demonstrated several new OLED display prototypes and technologies at SID 2019, and this great new video shows these displays in action.
First up is a 31" 4K (3840 x 2160, 144 PPI) AMOLED that was produced using an ink-jet printing process on an IGZO substrate. The peak brightness is 200 nits and the refresh rate is 120 Hz. This seems to be the same panel announced in March 2018 by Joshua Printing Display Technology (established by CSoT and Tianma in 2016). The display has some noticable defects.
Samsung has not committed yet to its QD-OLED TV technology, and according to a new report from Korea the company will make its final decision by the end of June (or early July). Samsung originally planned to hold an investment review committee on April 2019 but that did not materialize. According to an industry insider, Samsung already decided to start QD-OLED TV production, the only question is timing.
Samsung's plan is to shut down an LCD TV production line and convert it to QD-OLED production - although Business Korea now suggests that another possibility is to build a new production line instead of its planned A5 fab (which was delayed/canceled in early 2018).
CSoT demonstrated the first public QD-OLED display, during SID 2019. The company unveiled a 6.6" display that features a relatively low resolution (384x300) and brightness (50 nits). The backplane of this prototype is an Oxide-TFT.
The QD-OLED is made from blue OLED emitters with a quantum-dots color conversion layer. This is a similar design to Samsung's QD-OLED TV technology. Interestingly earlier this year CSoT's parent company TCL has unveiled a different QD-OLED technology it refers to as H-QLED which uses a combination of OLED and QD emitters.
Reports from Korea suggest that Samsung still faces technology challenges before it can begin producing QD-OLED TVs
Samsung is developing its QD-OLED TV technology and the company was supposed to hold an investment review committee on April 2019 to decide whether to go ahead with plans to start production soon (mass production by the end of 2020).
However in May we later reported that Samsung decided to delay the production - trial production will begin towards the end of 2020, with real mass production on a new 10-Gen line only at around 2023. A new report from Korea sheds some more light on Samsung's situation.
In February 2019 it was reported that Samsung Display will hold an investment review committee on April 2019 to decide whether to go ahead with plans to start producing QD-OLED TV panels - and then commence mass production by the end of 2020.
According to a new report from China, Samsung will indeed go ahead with its QD-OLED production plans, but at a slower pace than was first estimated. Samsung will only begin trial production towards the end of 2020, with real mass production on a new 10-Gen line only at around 2023.
TCL unveiled that the company 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.
It seems as TCL believes that commercial-level red and green QD emitters will be achievable in the future, but blue QD emission will be more difficult to develop, and hence it will rely on OLED emitters. TCL did not disclose more details - but this R&D effort is being performed at the company's Juhua Printing platform.
According to reports, Samsung Display will hold an investment review committee on April 2019 to decide whether to go ahead with plans to start producing QD-OLED TV panels. If the plan is approved, Samsung will start installing production equipment towards the end of 2019, with mass production starting by the end of 2020 or early 2021.
According to earlier reports, Samsung aimed to start pilot production of QD-OLED TV panels in 2019. It's not clear whether the new reports suggest a delay or whether they only refer to the mass production step, with pilot production proceeding as planned.
DSCC: the production costs of a 55" QD OLED TV will reach almost $800 in 2019, will fall to $450 by 2022
DSCC says that production costs for a 55" QD-OLED TV panel at Samsung Display's 8.5-Gen fab will reach almost $800 in 2019. While this will fall to around $450 in 2022, Samsung will still lose money on every panel sold if DSCC has its price and cost estimates right.
It is important to note that most of the cost is depreciation costs - which means that in terms of cash on each panel, SDC's margins will actually be around 40%. Part of the reason for he high cost of required equipment is the need to use 12 TFT masks.. SDC is apparently looking to reduce the mask number which will lower production costs.
Samsung Electronics reported its financial results for Q4 2018, with revenues of KRW 59.27 trillion ($53 billion USD), down 10% from Q4 2017. Samsung's operating profit of KRW 10.8 trillion ($9.6 billion) was down 29% from 2017.
Samsung Display reported a decline in rigid smartphone OLED display sales - due to rising competition from LCD panels. Demand for flexible OLEDs was strong. In Q1 2019, OLED display sales will remain weak - but Samsung says that flexible OLED demand will pickup in the second half of 2019.
HDTVTest posted an interesting interview with Cadmium-Free QD developer Nanosys CEO and president Jason Hartlove. In this long interview Jason discusses the company's technology and recent achievements.
Jason reveals that the company is working on emissive Quantum Dots displays - and he expects to have a full-color monitor-size QLED display prototype ready by the end of 2019. Jason says that they hope to show these display prototypes in private demos at CES 2020.