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Displays Earth Technology

Quantum Dots Will Make Flexible Displays 83

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the quantum-ice-cream-of-the-future dept.
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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Quantum Dots Will Make Flexible Displays

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  • by cyachallenge (2521604) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:35PM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

      by interval1066 (668936) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:39PM (#38351612) Homepage Journal
      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?
      • by Khashishi (775369)

        That would be awesome!

      • Re:Resolution (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:45PM (#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 (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Gaygirlie (1657131) <gaygirlie AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:23AM (#38351898) Homepage

          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.

          • by nschubach (922175)

            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.

            • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

                by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:29AM (#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.

                • by maxwell demon (590494) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @02:11AM (#38352362) Journal

                  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: (Score:3, Funny)

                    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.

            • by sjames (1099)

              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 (Score:4, Informative)

            by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:12AM (#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.
          • I think a simple goggles is better. Sunglasses with HUD, here I come!
          • 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 in

            • 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.

              • 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.

                • 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 :)

                  • 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.

      • by ksd1337 (1029386)
        And at this point in time, we have no imaging technology that can even produce anything near that resolution.
      • Re:Resolution (Score:4, Informative)

        by Tapewolf (1639955) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @04:16AM (#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.

      • by jovius (974690)

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

      • 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.

      • by geekoid (135745)

        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.

    • by Khith (608295)
      Think of what powerful and expensive hardware will be required to run a monitor set at native resolution with pixels in this scale.
      • by nschubach (922175)

        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.

  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Haxagon (2454432) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:37PM (#38351606)
    Now leaving my phone in the bathroom means someone will mistake it for toilet paper rather than returning it!
  • Cadmium (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wanzeo (1800058) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:38PM (#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 (Score:5, Funny)

      by NEDHead (1651195) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:05AM (#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 (Score:5, Interesting)

      by artor3 (1344997) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:05AM (#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 (Score:5, Informative)

        by Dahamma (304068) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:48AM (#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.

    • The only think I can think of is white leds may have a zinc-cadmium-sulfied phosphor (blue led + yellow phosphor = white light)
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by youn (1516637)

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

  • by PPH (736903) on Monday December 12, 2011 @11:51PM (#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?!!

  • 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.

    • by delinear (991444)
      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.
  • 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.
  • slashdot version 432442, optimized for quantum dot displays, hello web 5.0

  • by thegarbz (1787294) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:26AM (#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?

  • by Brad1138 (590148) <brad1138@yahoo.com> on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @12:58AM (#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...
  • This is not about making displays with quantum dots -- it's about color correcting LEDs, but still interesting:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjznErmcLnU [youtube.com]

    Not sure how you go from what I see in the video to display tech.

  • by AgNO3 (878843)
    are Quantum dots as good as dippen dots? That would be awesome.
  • All hype... (Score:4, Funny)

    by AlexEiffel (1118135) on Tuesday December 13, 2011 @01:11AM (#38352132)
    I looked at a few pics, but they didn't look any better than the monitor I'm already using.
  • Old news. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 intellectua

  • Quantum ? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      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.

      • by MrHanky (141717)

        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.

  • 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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