I visited two companies active with Quantum Dots for displays at SID. First up was Nanosys, which developed their quantum dot enhancement film (QDEF) technology - which dramatically improves LCD color. Nanosys showed a couple of comparisons at their booth of Apple's iPad 2 and an LCD TV - with and without the QDEF film.
The comparison was quite good, and the displays that feature the QDEF films had more vibrant colors. However, compared to Samsung's and LG's OLED TVs, those LCDs were still bland to my taste. But maybe I'm not really being objective here.
During SID, Nanosys and 3M announced a collaboration under which 3M will commercialize QDEF films. Those films are drop-in films that are placed on a phosphor-less gallium nitride LED backlight. They act like a phosphor - absorbing the blue light from the LED and producing red and green light, which is then combined with the original blue light to generate a high-quality white light.
QDEF can increase the color range by about 50% according to 3M and Nanosys. They see QDEF equipped LCDs as an OLED competitor. Interestingly, one of the investors in Nanosys is none other than Samsung, which led Nanosys' $31 million round in 2010. The QDEF technology won the SID Gold Award in the "display component of the year" category.
Another Quantum-Dots company is QDVision. I visited their booth, in which they only showed a small demo of three QLED "dots" displays, in red green and blue. I did have a chance to talk with Seth Coe-Sullivan (whom I interviewed here at OLED-Info back in 2009), which gave me some interesting updates.
QD Vision is still developing its QLED display technology, its QD films and lighting products, although Seth couldn't really say more regarding the QLED technology or their lighting technology status. I did learn that the Nexxus lamp (the first Quantum-Dots enhanced LED lamp) is not being produced anymore, I guess the price of that lamp was too high at around $100.
QD Vision are also working on a product that is somehow similar to QDEFs - it's also a QD enhancement film, but QD Vision's product will be more integrated in the LCD production process which will enable better quality at a cheaper price (but I guess it will be more difficult to implement).