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Quantum Dots Will Make Flexible Displays

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the quantum-ice-cream-of-the-future dept.

Displays 83

judgecorp writes "Quantum dots are small semiconductors, whose properties are defined by their size and shape. British nanotechnology firm Nanoco has found they are ideal for displays, allowing the possibility of screens that can be rolled up — and which also use far less of the hazardous chemicals found in normal screens." In addition to being Cadmium free (a problem in the EU where the exemption for Cadmium in displays expires in 2014), they directly emit light using less power than traditional filtered color LCDs.

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83 comments

Resolution (2)

cyachallenge (2521604) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351580)

The tiny crystals, which are 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair

Think of what resolution sizes we can get with pixels in this scale.

Re:Resolution (4, Informative)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351612)

Think of the resolutions the human eye won't be able to distinguish; dots the size of percentage of a human hair to dots the size of potatoes, its all just a blur to our eyes. But hey, who am I to poop on progress on any scale?

Re:Resolution (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351648)

Might be great for a head-mounted display though, or augmented-reality contact lenses. Now that voice command is starting to catch on, the largest remaining hindrance to miniaturization is the display.

Re:Resolution (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351898)

or augmented-reality contact lenses

The problem is transmitting the pixel data to the lenses wirelessly while also simultaneously feeding them power somehow: you can't really have wires going to your contact lenses. If that could be solved in a reasonable manner then sure, it would be great. I've been thinking to myself that it'd be neat to have some sort of a small plug behind your ear into which you can plug in a small audio cable, and then have the audio transmitted directly to your inner ear through cranial resonance. Now, combine that with augmented-reality contact lenses/glasses and you've got a really, really powerful system useful for things ranging from entertainment to industrial uses to military uses and even remotely-guided surgeries.

Re:Resolution (2)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351940)

I'm pretty sure contact lenses would not be something your eye can focus on. I'd be happy if it were wrong, but I think it's too close to be able to see anything but a blurry mess.

Re:Resolution (2)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351980)

They are at a fixed length from your eye, the distance doesn't vary. Thus to my understanding it should be possible to have the image appear sharp depending on where you look. And if the lenses could detect how close or far you're looking the image could obviously be adjusted accordingly, thereby making them work at any focus range. But as I said, that's how I understand it, I could be wrong, too.

Re:Resolution (4, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352202)

The answer is not contacts. Direct retinal contact only separated by a thin transparent film. Bypass everything else.

Use the rest of the space in the eye for equipment. Processing, storage, CCD, power generation, etc. With a high enough resolution CCD (or equivalent) you create a cybernetic implant with incredible vision. Overlay any kind of visual information you want on to any surface you can see, or have it hover in front of you.

Re:Resolution (4, Funny)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352362)

And if you see strange things, you don't know whether to go to the psychiatrist for hallucinations, or to tech support for someone hacking your augmented reality system.

Re:Resolution (3, Funny)

FairAndHateful (2522378) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353258)

And if you see strange things, you don't know whether to go to the psychiatrist for hallucinations, or to tech support for someone hacking your augmented reality system.

Oh, I got these contacts a while ago, but for some reason I keep seeing a purple ape that claims to be my "buddy". It's been very confusing, and driving has been really dicey.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352050)

I'm pretty sure contact lenses would not be something your eye can focus on. I'd be happy if it were wrong, but I think it's too close to be able to see anything but a blurry mess.

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/onepercent/2011/11/electronic-contact-lens-displa.html

Re:Resolution (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38360792)

The light from the display on your desk enters your pupil in some definite configuration that results in an image on your retina after being focused by the lens in your eye. Duplicate that configuration of light with emitters on the surface of your eye and you duplicate the image of your monitor on your desk.

Re:Resolution (3, Informative)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352134)

These guys [extremetech.com] recently pulled it off with wireless power transmission to an antenna that goes around the rim of the lens. Just one monochrome pixel though! And a visible wire to that pixel.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353084)

Or, far more likely, augmented reality apps brought to you by Extenze, the Wow Bra, etc.

Re:Resolution (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38357040)

I've been thinking to myself that it'd be neat to have some sort of a small plug behind your ear into which you can plug in a small audio cable, and then have the audio transmitted directly to your inner ear through cranial resonance

If you have to plug in a cable anyway, why not just use headphones? They're a lot less traumatic. Okay so operations aren't that traumatic, I've had ops on both my ears under local anaesthetic, but still I wouldn't go in for such an operation unless it was going to make a big difference to my life.

I'd only get aural implants if they were wireless. I'd probably be happy to go for direct cabling if it linked directly to the nervous system though. That could be hella fun, if you didn't die in the process of installation..

Re:Resolution (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38360718)

If you have to plug in a cable anyway, why not just use headphones? They're a lot less traumatic

Mostly because it wouldn't block out other audio sources, plus the audio quality would be better. Of course wireless audio would be even better, but if it could be hacked into... well, imagine getting audio ads right into your skull without being able to block it out.

Re:Resolution (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38364212)

I would think noise cancelling headphones would cancel out a lot more noise - though your system could do noise cancellation too of course, but headphones already help to block a noise out simply by being in or over your ears, so I think they'd be an easier starting point.

I actually thought maybe one the reasons you'd prefer a cable behind the ear rather than headphones was to leave your normal hearing at full capacity while you also listen to your music or whatever. Maybe I was imagining your idea wrong.

Re:Resolution (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38365796)

That's what I said: "it wouldn't block out other audio sources", allowing you to hear everything around you normally, too. Atleast I could definitely see surgeons and other personnel working on highly risky and/or important stuff benefiting from that. You just read my comment wrong :)

Re:Resolution (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38367792)

Oh, yeah. I guess I should have just gone to bed instead of checking Slashdot at 12:30AM! From that point of view though, you could also have a microphone feeding real world sound into your headphones if you wanted to hear everything around you, or have hearing enhanced in some other way - perhaps selectively filtering out voices or traffic noise or that kind of thing.

Re:Resolution (1)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351968)

And at this point in time, we have no imaging technology that can even produce anything near that resolution.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352076)

It only matters if the dot pixels would need to be individually addressable anyway.

If you illuminate scads of them using the same conductor, you can make pixels pretty much any size you want.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_dot_display [wikipedia.org]

Re:Resolution (3, Informative)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352878)

Think of the resolutions the human eye won't be able to distinguish; dots the size of percentage of a human hair to dots the size of potatoes, its all just a blur to our eyes. But hey, who am I to poop on progress on any scale?

What it would mean is that you could support multiple resolutions like on a CRT display. The fact that an LCD has to have a 'native resolution' at all is a nuisance for things like games. That and this thing should sidestep the horrible contrast problems LCD has.

Re:Resolution (2)

jovius (974690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352976)

Even though the eyes couldn't distinguish individual dots the adjacent dots could be used to create interesting color and other illusions - maybe depth?

Related question for all the optics gurus... (2)

SpazmodeusG (1334705) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353738)

In a hologram, tightly packed alternating dark and light regions produce constructive/destructive interference, causing a 3D effect. If the pixels can be made close enough is it possible to recreate this effect on a monitor?

If so there's an excuse to go beyond human perceptible detail.

Re:Resolution (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356746)

Yes, but there are other advantage. While it appear as blur, it would actually be a blur. That means you can have a lot o data.

Basically making the 'enhance..Enhance!" aspect of CSI factual, instead of craptual.

And of course, the is a tone of uses in scinece.

Re:Resolution (1)

Khith (608295) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351680)

Think of what powerful and expensive hardware will be required to run a monitor set at native resolution with pixels in this scale.

Re:Resolution (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351986)

Sadly, they will still sell screens that are 1080p. I wished LCD manufacturers would get off their asses and make more affordable screens over 1080p. 1920x1200 is the best I've seen that's not ridiculously expensive and I bought one of those a few years ago.

Re:Resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38364822)

Seeing as monitor resolutions have been consistently FALLING as a function of physical size in the past 10yrs, I fail to see how this new tech will be used. Ever.

I had a 17" CRT capable of 1600x1200 15yrs ago. 22" LCDs hit 1680x1050 only about 6yrs ago.
Now we have 13" notebooks with the same res as a 4" phone (WXGA)
A high end notebook 4yrs ago had 1680x1050 on 15", now 99% of anything up to 16" are 1368x768

Great... (5, Funny)

Haxagon (2454432) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351606)

Now leaving my phone in the bathroom means someone will mistake it for toilet paper rather than returning it!

Re:Great... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352346)

I wish you Apple employees would stop visiting /.

Cadmium (3, Interesting)

wanzeo (1800058) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351608)

First I've heard about Cadmium in LCDs. Anyone know more? The wikipedia article says it's usually inhaled, but it's pretty vague as to how it causes problems.

Re:Cadmium (5, Funny)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351784)

The inhalation is a crucial step in the manufacture. A well trained technician can inhale, then spew forth in a finely detailed pattern to create the final image. One of the most exalted practitioners was able to create not only images of Christ, but also Mary, and Colonel Sanders.

Re:Cadmium (5, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351794)

I think some reporter got confused. Cadmium hasn't seen much use in displays since the early 80s, because there are better, non-toxic materials that have been discovered since then. I think it's still used in a few applications, but nothing Joe Consumer is likely to buy. Where cadmium is often used is in quantum dots, which has thus far made quantum dots unusable for most consumer applications. That appears to be one of the innovations coming out of the research here... quantum dots that don't use cadmium (or other heavy metals), and are thus safe to use in the creation of the flexible display that everyone's wanted for a while.

Re:Cadmium (5, Informative)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352042)

Yeah, the reporter (and then the submitter) somehow interpreted the company's press release about a cadmium free QD-LED display to mean normal LCD displays contained cadmium. And then to make it worse the submitter tried to expand on this misinformation by quoting one exemption for a single company's special purpose LED and wrongly applying that to a whole industry and regulatory body. Sigh.

Re:Cadmium (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351832)

The only think I can think of is white leds may have a zinc-cadmium-sulfied phosphor (blue led + yellow phosphor = white light)

Re:Cadmium (1, Funny)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351890)

Yep, but not necessarily... I tried smoking Cadmium once... but I did not inhale :p.... or was it really cadmium... hum, who knows :-)

You insensitive clod! (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351688)

I've got trouble enough reading things on little iPhone and netbook displays. And now you want me to try to read off of a quantum dot?!!

Re:You insensitive clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352820)

Heye, are you really people, what do you want to here please reply me, regards, HM
http://www.the-career.com/

article or advertisement? (1)

Goldsmith (561202) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351696)

Is this an article or an ad for this company? I hope Slashdot made some money on this one, because there's nothing to this story other than the company name.

Re:article or advertisement? (2)

delinear (991444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353966)

Plus, I've read stories about screens with amazing resolutions you can roll up like paper at least every three or four months for the past decade. At this point, stop telling us it's possible and actually focus on getting one to market; it's starting to sound awfully like vapourware.

Ideal display (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351846)

Someday I hope we can create a display that emits light of any wavelength (or combination of wavelengths).

Then we can finally have a display that can show any color, instead of the color-poor monitors we have today. It makes me sad sometimes.....65 million shades of color, more than the eye can distinguish, and yet we can't get a proper shade of orange.

Re:Ideal display (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38358752)

Someday I hope we can create a display that emits light of any wavelength (or combination of wavelengths).

That's what quantum dots do. Each dot will produce only one wavelength, but they can be tailored for whatever wavelength you want.

This isn't necessary, though, because the cone receptors in your eye only respond in fairly narrow ranges around the primary colors - red, green, and blue. Quantum dots are small enough that you can cover those ranges well within a single pixel. Blue is currently a bit limited by QD-LED manufacturing techniques.

SlashQuantumDot NG interface, gonna be awesomeeee (0)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351858)

slashdot version 432442, optimized for quantum dot displays, hello web 5.0

Re: Welcome (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38351910)

I for one welcome our new quantum dot overlords!

Why compare to LCDs? (3, Insightful)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38351918)

We have a potential replacement for LCDs in the works already, and its far more advanced along the R&D chain.

How do these displays compare to OLED which can also be rolled and are also less toxic in their production?

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352320)

They consume less power, because light does not need to pass through a color filter (the dots radiate the color themselves). Some say they will consume 1/4 of the power of current displays.

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352456)

They consume less power, because light does not need to pass through a color filter (the dots radiate the color themselves). Some say they will consume 1/4 of the power of current displays.

Try again. OLEDs consume less power than LCD because light does not need to pass through a color filter (OLEDs radiate the color themselves). Some say they will consume 1/4 of the power of current displays...

So why do we need quantum dot displays again?

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352544)

Because fuck you, that's why.

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352946)

Among other things, we need them because another attractive part of the quantum dots is that their frequency spectrum is much more tuneable than LED's. Finally accurate colors for the masses.

Plus I imagine that this will solve the color life length disparity problem that plagues OLEDs, thoguh I don't really know about the materials, I'm from the imaging engineering side.

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (4, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353302)

Because they are still working on making stable chemistry for OLED? The clue is in the name - O means organic. Organic molecules decay. The colours on OLED screens therefore fade with time and with UV light [wikipedia.org] .

They can also consume MORE power than LCD under certain circumstances - the light doesn't need to pass through a filter, true, and they are much more efficient at displaying a mostly black screen (because the OLEDs just switch off while the LCD still generates all that backlight and then blocks it), but in a predominantly white picture, such as is common in computer applications, they can consume more power than the LCD does. I guess that lots of little LED elements are less efficient than a few big ones.

Quantum dots are teensy little aggregations of inorganic chemicals, so they shouldn't suffer from the same decay problems as OLED.

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (2)

theskipper (461997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354796)

The 50% lifetime degradation for red and green is in the hundreds of thousands of hours for PHOLED. It's in the tens of thousands of hours for 95%, far longer than the usable life of actual products on the market:

http://www.universaldisplay.com/default.asp?contentID=604 [universaldisplay.com]

"Sky blue" PHOLED has a sufficient lifetime but dark blue is a long way off. So fluorescent blue is used which is lower efficiency but compensates by having a much higher lifetime. This is the set of chemicals currently being used in all Samsung OLED displays currently on the market (almost all of their phones; TVs and tablets next year).

The larger issue has been encapsulation which is solved for rigid displays. For flexible displays, it's essentially solved.

I realize you probably know all this but your post made it sound like there are still problems with PHOLED lifetimes. So this is a synopsis for those readers unfamiliar with the technology.

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (1)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369136)

The 50% lifetime degradation for red and green is in the hundreds of thousands of hours for PHOLED. It's in the tens of thousands of hours for 95%, far longer than the usable life of actual products on the market:

There are ~9000 hours in a year, so tens of thousands of hours is a few years. That is not "far longer than the usable life..." I still use a flat CRT that I bought in 1993 so even the 50% degradation may not be within the usable life.
--
JimFive

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (1)

theskipper (461997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369450)

Not sure I understand what you're saying. One thing you may have missed is the footnote in the material lifetime table. Since they're material specs, those figures do not factor any outcoupling efficiency gains for the emitter structure. Also the drive currents are worst case (constant illumination). Both factors greatly suppress EQE (but still 100% IQE for AMOLED). So with sufficient encapsulation, the usable lifetime is definitely far longer than device lifetime. HTH.

Re:Why compare to LCDs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38355850)

> O means organic. Organic molecules decay.

If I read nothing on Slashdot stupider than this today, I'll be happy.

ANOTHER flexible display? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352000)

Ok, maybe I'm jaded or just overly pessimistic, but flexible displays seem to be overrated in my experience. For all the new "technologies" that PROMISED flexible displays I have yet to see a truly viable flexible display on the market. WHY you may ask? Simply because the production of said flexible-display compared to the cost of a rigid display have enough of an disparancy that very few of today's profit-run companies would agree to such an experiment. Even if "Quantum Dots" ARE viable enough to apply to a cost-effective flexible-display appointment, would the benefit of consumer enthusiasim overcome the discrepancy in cost comparisons?

Okay, a flexible-display E-reader MIGHT be viable, but anything else with a flexible display? Perhaps a laptop with a roll-out display, but will people be as enthusiastic when they realize it needs some sort of rigid stand to keep the screen rigid? Probably not!

The only benefit I can see is something close to a smartphone with a rollout display as tall as the width of the phone itself. So take an average (somewhat oversized) 5 inch long smartphone. It MIGHT be viable to produce a rollup display that can meet something akin to 8 by 5 after being deployed. At what cost? There would have to be some cable that attaches to that display, and a somewhat secure (rigid) way of securing that display. Does that mean the attachment point would be the size of (even) a micro USB port? That would mean the thickness of such a port would be at minimum an eigth of an inch! Roll up something an eigth of an inch thick enough times to meet a length of eight inches and you'll know what I mean.

Re:ANOTHER flexible display? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352172)

Ok, maybe I'm jaded or just overly pessimistic, but flexible displays seem to be overrated in my experience.
...

Okay, a flexible-display E-reader MIGHT be viable, but anything else with a flexible display

Hell yes, this technology might FINALLY give me the kind of e-book I want: one that looks like a book and feels like a book, with a variable number of pages (say 50-500) that can all change their content! Full color, motion video, insane resolution - flip through it quickly without any stupid "page turning" animations... my god, it'll be beautiful! :)

Re:ANOTHER flexible display? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38354298)

That was going to be the original plan. Before we realized that flash memory was going to be cheaper than the equivalent amount of "e-paper memory"....

Re:ANOTHER flexible display? (1)

JimFive (1064958) | more than 2 years ago | (#38369250)

I think it would be more useful for a presentation screen that doesn't need a projector. Pull down the screen, plug the computer into the display cable and you're there.
--
JimFive

Heard it before.... (2)

Brad1138 (590148) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352082)

"ideal for displays, allowing the possibility of screens that can be rolled up"

They said that 10 years ago with OLED technology, still waiting on that...

All hype... (4, Funny)

AlexEiffel (1118135) | more than 2 years ago | (#38352132)

I looked at a few pics, but they didn't look any better than the monitor I'm already using.

Re:All hype... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353530)

Did you try the roll-up feature?

Old news. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38352888)

Nanosys in Palo Alto (http://www.nanosysinc.com/) has been involved in designing quantum dots for display purposes for a while. The point isn't the size of the dots, but rather that one can tune the output wavelengths to match the filters on the front of LCD displays. This increases the efficiency measurably, vastly increasing the color gamut that can be displayed (3x more color according to their website). In my opinion, this is a REAL revolution in display technology!

I have no interest (beyond intellectual) or investments in Nanosys - just came across the product.

Quantum ? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38353142)

So, is it basically uncertain what it will be displayed then ?

Only took 13 years (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 2 years ago | (#38353544)

It's about time. I wrote my final year physics paper on this, using quantum dots tuned to the wavelengths of RGB for flat panel displays. In 1998.

Most fun part was that I did most of the work from my bedroom, running simulations on the unix system at uni via a C app and my trusty 33.6k modem. Good times.

Quantum (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38355620)

The newest buzzword, joins the ranks of the "Cloud", "Nano", "iSomething", "Web 2.0", "eSomething" etc, as previously overused buzz words that do not really mean what they are supposed to mean. Everything is going "quantum" these days.

Re:Quantum (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38356932)

That's been true for 2 decades. WHer have you been?

*How does homeopathy work? "quantum!"
*How does acupuncture work: "Quantum!"
**How can there be ghosts? "Quantum!"

How big was that leap? "Quantum!"***

*It doesn't
**There aren't.
*** Ho boy.

Re:Quantum (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38360368)

There's a fair amount of evidence that acupuncture works, at least for pain relief. It might of course simply be placebo (which is proven to work), but dismissing something out of hand due to lack of knowledge is idiocy.

Re:Quantum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38373290)

There's a fair amount of evidence that acupuncture works, at least for pain relief.

Yeah, but not for curing anything.

Homeopaths and chiropractors and acupuncturists make all sorts of noise about "healing," but when they come across something they can't handle, they ignore it (to your health's detriment) or send you to the "real doctors."

Only five years off! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356168)

That was the only line missing from the article.

I'm sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38356734)

The picture will be incredible. Until you look at it.

thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38358290)

thank u for this
http://tech.slashdot.org/story/11/12/13/038240/quantum-dots-will-make-flexible-displays

The real benefit (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 2 years ago | (#38362192)

The real benefit is flexible displays in current style tech so the screens won't shatter if you prove yourself human and drop your phone once in a while.

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