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3M and Nanosys partner on gamut-boosting display tech

3M and Nanosys partner on gamut-boosting display tech

The Nanosys Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) promises to greatly boost the colour gamut of liquid-crystal displays.

Chemicals giant 3M has announced a partnership with Nanosys to commercialise the company's Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) technology to improve the colour gamut of liquid-crystal displays.

Display technology has changed drastically since colour liquid-crystal display panels were first suggested as an alternative to bulky, power-hungry cathode ray tubes. The move to LCD allowed genuine laptops - as opposed to portable and luggable computers - to be created for the first time, and more recent innovations have included Thin-Film Transistor (TFT) and In-Plane Switching (IPS) technologies for sharper, clearer and lower-power displays.

One aspect of display technology which has largely stagnated, however, is the colour gamut - the number of distinct colours an LCD screen can display. A prototype display created by Sharp in 2009 promised a gamut extension by adding cyan and yellow to the usual red, green and blue colour elements for a claimed coverage of 99 per cent of the Pointer colour space, but most computer monitors still languish with diminished colour reproduction. According to 3M, the majority of displays are limited to reproducing 35 per cent or less of the visible colour spectrum.

The Nanosys Quantum Dot Enhancement Film promises to change all that: 10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, the company's quantum dots are able to emit light at a very precise wavelength. By creating a film made up of trillions of these tiny dots, Nanosys claims that an LCD's backlight can be enhanced and the colour gamut massively improved.

'We are working together to improve an area of display performance that has been largely neglected for the last decade,' claimed Jason Hartlove, president and chief executive officer of Nanosys, regarding the partnership with 3M. 'Improving colour performance for LCDs with drop-in solutions will bring a stunning new visual experience to the consumer and a competitive advantage to the LCD manufacturer against new display technologies such as OLED. Working together with 3M and utilising their outstanding design and supply chain capabilities will allow our QDEF technology to be widely deployed across all product segments and will ensure availability to all customers.'

Unlike rival gamut-expanding technologies, Nanosys claims that QDEF requires no equipment or process changes for manufacturers and can be quickly and cheaply integrated into the production pipeline of any LCD manufacturer without heavy up-front costs.

Sadly, despite its drop-in applicability, neither 3M nor Nanosys is able to provide a timescale as to when the technology will appear in commercially-available displays.

9 Comments

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l3v1ck 8th June 2012, 15:32 Quote
I don't care about colour reproduction on laptops, I care about viewing angles and contrast. Most laptops still have cheap nasty screens as it's something hard to spot on your average retailers spec sheet. Most now list resolution, but never the panel type and the viewing angles.
r3loaded 8th June 2012, 15:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by l3v1ck
I don't care about colour reproduction on laptops, I have about viewing angles and contrast. Most laptops still have cheap nasty screens as it's something hard to spot on your average retailers spec sheet.
Indeed, the most annoying thing ever is while browsing for laptops for someone, and the spec sheet in a store says "15 inch HD screen". Apart from knowing the laptop's approximate size, this conveys exactly no information on the screen whatsoever (maybe because they're ashamed of how terrible it is?)
Cogwulf 8th June 2012, 16:24 Quote
Wide-gamut screens already exist but they cost a fortune, although the bigger factor that limits their use to graphics designers and other professionals is that almost all content is designed to be displayed on standard gamut screens.
Wide gamut screens need to be rolled down to consumer level before anything else.
feathers 8th June 2012, 21:25 Quote
Not interested in the new tech... I Just want that sheet of paper that glows different colours.
dogknees 9th June 2012, 05:13 Quote
They're talking about all lcd displays not just laptops.
Elton 9th June 2012, 13:07 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cogwulf
Wide-gamut screens already exist but they cost a fortune, although the bigger factor that limits their use to graphics designers and other professionals is that almost all content is designed to be displayed on standard gamut screens.
Wide gamut screens need to be rolled down to consumer level before anything else.

That's up to panel manufacturers mind you. A good panel isn't easy to make, especially ones with more complex circutry. If your laptop is only worth $300-$500 where's the incentive to put a wide gamut and evenly backlit screen? None.

So panel manufacturers now have the impetus to cheapen the technology process. That is not going to be cheap or easy. But we're getting there with E-IPS and the likes. Sadly still nothing on professional H-IPS, but it's close. And don't get me started on S-PVA LCDs.

To be honest, this is why Plasma TVs failed in the market. They offered (arguably) much better image quality at the cost of heat, price and complexity. It isn't easy to make a cheap display technology that looks good.
skunkmunkey 11th June 2012, 15:21 Quote
What would really be impressive is if the film is sold as an upgrade to your current monitor. Something you could apply yourself to increase colour accuarrcy. Now that would get my attention, we throw away far too much stuff, upgradeable equipment is the way forward!
JAMF 12th June 2012, 10:11 Quote
"10,000 [quantum dots] smaller than the width of a human hair, ..."

Is that per square inch, per square centimeter, per pixel, per sub-pixel? Something is missing from that specification.

...or should "times" follow the number?

"10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, ..."
Gareth Halfacree 12th June 2012, 10:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by JAMF
"10,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, ..."
The latter - I'll stick it in, ta.
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