IDTechEx explores quantum dots

17th June 2024
Harry Fowle

The use of quantum dots in displays has made it to high-quality prototypes amongst established tech companies like Samsung, Sharp, and TCL. These semiconductor nanocrystals, the size of just 2-10 nanometres, can enable realistic and high-definition displays for TVs, monitors, and smart tablets.


Quantum dots' natural light qualities, coupled with their tiny particle size, make them a great choice for top-quality, realistic display screens. Their RGB colours are extremely pure and can provide an excellent colour gamut for various display applications. IDTechEx’s report, “Quantum Dot Materials and Technologies 2024-2034: Trends, Markets, Applications”, explores extensive applications for quantum dot technology.

Electroluminescent quantum dots (EL-QDs) are a promising display technology that directly utilises the electroluminescence of quantum dots to generate light. Unlike conventional LEDs or quantum dot colour converters (QDCCs), where a blue LED is used to excite the quantum dots, EL-QDs emit light directly when an electric current is applied. In EL-QD displays, the quantum dots are sandwiched between two electrodes, forming a light-emitting layer. When a voltage is applied across the electrodes, electrons, and holes are injected into the quantum dot layer, where they recombine and emit light. The emission colour is determined by the size and composition of the quantum dots, allowing for precise control over the colour gamut. EL-QD can achieve a wider colour gamut than conventional displays due to their narrow emission spectra and tunable emission wavelengths. Fast response time is also an attractive feature compared to LCDs and OLEDs. EL-QDs also have the potential for higher electroluminescence efficiency compared to organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs).


Photoluminescence provides light to the existing light of quantum dots to produce a new kind that is brighter and more colourful, changing shorter blue light waves to longer reds and greens. Though Samsung has already commercialised QD-OLED, which is based on photoluminescent quantum dots, they have recently produced a good-quality prototype for a QD-LED screen. Working similarly to QD-OLED, EL-QD utilises electroluminescent quantum dots as the emissive layer to generate red, green, and blue light without needing a separate backlight or colour.

Quantum dot discovery

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded in 2023 for the discovery and advancements made in quantum dot technology. This award highlights the importance of quantum dots not only in entertainment technology but also in medicine.

Discovered in 1980, quantum dots comprise a core, shell, and the outer layer of ligands that stabilise the particles and enable their semiconductor qualities. The innermost core layer is surrounded by the shell, which has a wider bandgap and can improve the efficiency of quantum dots as well as the quantum yield. By coating this layer, a particle's capacity and strength can be increased, making quantum dots suitable for multiple applications.

IDTechEx predicts the global quantum dot (QD) material market to reach $550 million by 2034 and expects it to grow much more in the future, taking increasing market share. This optimism speaks for the opportunities for quantum dots in many technology sectors as they continue to reshape displays and smart devices with continually increasing quality and, therefore, increasing market value.

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