SamsungThere is a new TV display technology on the horizon called QLED, and it might be even better than OLED. Short for “quantum dot light emitting devices,” QLED has the potential to match the “infinite” contrast ratio of OLED, with better power efficiency, better colour and more.

QLED could be the next big thing in TV tech. Samsung, the world’s number one TV maker, has confirmed that it is working on developing QLED TVs for the commercial market, while continuing to deny it has plans to mass-produce OLED. That leaves Samsung’s arch-rival LG as the sole manufacturer of OLED, and Samsung itself with plenty of motivation to work on an alternative like QLED.

For several years, many high-end TVs, in particular Samsung’s SUHD models, have used what are called quantum dots. They are a way for LCD manufacturers to improve colour reproduction and energy efficiency, tests show that they do.
What are Quantum Dots?

Quantum dots are  microscopic molecules that, when hit by light, emit their own, differently coloured light. The specific wavelength — and therefore colour of the created light depends on the size of the quantum dot. Larger quantum dots emit light in the red end of the spectrum, the smaller ones towards the blue end.  The size of these dots is around 4 nanometers. That isreally small, just a fraction of the width of a human hair.

QLED vs OLED
The current generation of LG’s OLED TVs use yellow and blue OLED materials to create “white” light. This is then filtered using red, green, blue and clear colour filters. This is similar to how LCDs create colour. There are many benefits to this, though they are mostly on the manufacturing side, OLEDs easier to manufacture.

There is a loss in efficiency which is not to high, though it makes getting a really wide colour gamut difficult. A wide colour gamut means less light with this method, so the OLEDs must be driven harder, or be more efficient. This does not mean it is impossible, just an additional challenge for a technology.

RGB OLED would be the logical evolution, though these are even more difficult to manufacture in large sizes. Samsung actually made one itself a couple of years ago, though never followed up with additional OLED models.

The future

Two of the largest names in quantum dots are Nanosys (used in Samsung TVs) and QDVision (used in TCL and others). Both are working on QLED, though of course are reluctant to share how far they or their manufacturing partners have reached. Both companies speak of a glorious quantum future of bright, colourful, cheap displays.

 

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By Expat