Advanced Materials Report

Quantum Dot Materials and Technologies 2019-2029: Trends, Markets, Players

Materials, players and applications such as displays (edge optic, QD enhancement film, color filter, on-chip, emissive), lighting, visible & IR/NIR image sensor, photovoltaics, etc.

Brand new for February 2019

IDTechEx Research has been analysing the technologies and markets for quantum dots since 2013. Since that time, it has stayed extremely close to the latest research and market developments via its interview programme and company and conference visits.
Furthermore, IDTechEx Research has engaged closely with many of its clients, helping them better understand the technology and market landscape and helping them set their innovation and commercialization strategies.
In its analysis of quantum dots, IDTechEx Research brings its wealth of expertise in analysing advanced electronic materials and devices. We have been in this business for the past 19 years and in this time have closely observed the rise and/or fall, and the success and/or disappointment, of many emerging technologies.
This gives us a uniquely experienced eye when it comes to analysing emerging electronic material technologies. This is crucial because it helps us establish a realistic market and technology roadmap that reflects the true potential of the technology based on its intrinsic characteristics and on the true level of technical and commercial challenges that it faces.
The depth and breadth of our expertise in these fields is reflected in our report portfolio which covers numerous advanced materials, many emerging electronic devices such as printed and/or flexible electronics, and novel manufacturing processes.
What this report offers
This report provides a detailed technology analysis. It considers various quantum dot compositions such as Cd-based, In-based QDs as well as the likes of emerging organic and inorganic perovskites, PbS, CuInS2, InGaN, quantum rods, and so on. It also provides a detailed benchmarking of QDs vs existing phosphor technology. Our analysis is data driven, reflecting the latest commercial and academic results. For each material, as appropriate, we assess its performance, its key remaining material challenges, its production processes, and its directions/strategies of improvement.
Our technology roadmap also considers how the technology mix in various applications will be transformed with time. In displays, it considers the rise and fall of various QD integration approaches. It shows that film-type now reigns supreme after edge optic went obsolete. It however also shows the emerging approaches such as color filter or on-chip type, enabled by material improvements, will eventually unseat it. Furthermore, it will consider QDs as the ultimate emissive material for displays, tracing the trends in efficiency and lifetime improvements whilst exploring the remaining challenges in terms of performance, lifetime, deposition/patterning, device design, and so on.
In lighting, our roadmap considers how and when QDs will become used in LED lights either as direct or remote downconverters and either in general lighting or specialized niche applications. In sensors, it will explore hybrid QD-Si visible image sensors can simultaneously achieve high resolution and global shutter, whilst it shows how QD-Si infrared image sensors can overcome current resolution issues imposed unmonolothic integration. In photovoltaics, it reports the latest progress worldwide whilst stating the might commercial and technical challenges that are yet to be overcome and considers novel uses cases such as LCS.
Crucially, our technology analysis considers the requirements that must be met to enable each application and outlines the current progress and future strategies in achieving targets. Here, we will consider parameters such as stability (air, heat, light), self-absorption, blue absorbance, efficiency (QY), narrowband emission (FWHM) and so on.
This report also provides ten-year market forecasts in sqm (or Kg) and value, and at material and solution level, for 12 technologies: edge optic displays, film type displays, color filter QD display, on-chip QD display, emissive QD displays, QD-Si hybrid visible image sensors, IR/NIR image sensors, remote QD LED lights and on-chip QD LED lights, QD photovoltaics, researchers and more.
Our forecasts draw heavily from our technology analysis which gives us realistic and expert view of when and how various technologies can become commercially viable compared incumbents, and also from our detailed interviews, deep market insights, and close trend tracking.
This report also provides detailed overviews of 37 players in the value chain. In many cases, our overviews also include a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities, threats) analysis of the key players.
Quantum dots: time of change and growth
Quantum dots (QDs) are no longer a young technology. Even their commercialization process is not new since the pioneering companies were formed in the 2001-2005 period. The QDs are also not commercially novice: they have been employed in LCD displays as remote phosphors for several years.
One might then be tempted to assume that QDs are now a stagnant technology with slow and unchanging commercial prospects. This assumption would however be very wrong. This article sets out to make this point, demonstrating that QDs have now entered a time of growth, and crucially, rapid technological change.
Quantum dot films in displays: past and present
QDs' first success beyond research uses came in the display industry. Here, first high-performance Cd-based QDs were adopted in LCDs either in edge-optic or film-type implementations. The industry however has already evolved beyond that status: the edge optic has largely become obsolete and the transition away from Cd based towards Cd-free/less QDs is in full swing. In parallel, improvements in QD yield, stability and production processes driving down costs, fully reshaping the end users' display-level pricing strategies. To read more on these trends see this article.
Quantum dots: when will color filter or on-chip QD displays arrive?
Quantum dots in displays are set to experience growth and major technology transitions. These is becoming technology improvements are enabling new integration approaches such as color filter and on-chip types. These developments threating the exclusive dominance of QD films in QD displays, thereby transforming the technology mix. Read this article to learn more about how, and when, these technologies are likely to commercially rise and fall.
Quantum dots: the ultimate emissive display material?
Many consider quantum dots (QDs) as the ultimate emissive (electroluminescent) material, one day representing the future of display and one day evolving emissive displays beyond the level that organic LEDs offer today. This is because potentially QD emissive displays offer extremely wide color gamut through their direct narrow band emission, high efficiency, high contrast, solution processing, and thinness. The latter attribute also gives a degree of future proofing as display technology finally transitions towards flexible and foldable screens.
But what is the reality? What is the status of performance and technology readiness? What are the challenges to overcome? And whether, and when, will it reach the market? To learn more, read this article.
Quantum dots: evolving downconverter technology beyond phosphors?
Quantum dots (QDs) are often billed as the ultimate, or at least as the next generation of, phosphors. The main driver often is the QDs' ability to act as ultra-narrowband downconverters, resulting in extremely wide color gamut displays and efficient and high CRI solid state LED lights. Read this article to explore the merits of quantum dots as ultimate phosphors.
Quantum dots: changes in material composition
The first successful QD was Cd based thanks to its high performance in displays. This material (e.g., CdSe) was however always on borrowed time due to its toxicity. Announced legislation in the EU has now accelerated the transition towards Cd-free or Cd-less compositions often based on an InP chemistry. There is still a penalty; the QY gap has been narrowed but the FWHM difference persists.
In additional, there are many novel material engineering progresses that are taking place. These seek to improve heat, light, and air stability, reduce self-absorption, improve dispersion in inks or photoresist, and so on.
In parallel, novel materials such as organic and organic perovskite QDs are also emerging whilst novel chemistries such as PbS or CuInS2 are being explored for sensor and photovoltaic applications. New material shapes such as rods are also being examined. All this makes for a dynamic and innovative industry driven by material improvements. To learn more consult the report.
Quantum dots: growing beyond displays
The work on QDs is not limited to displays. There are many other applications such as lighting, sensors, photovoltaics and so on. For example:
  • Lighting is an attractive application not least because lighting is the largest application for LEDs. Here, the driver in the general lighting sector is to increase CRI of LED lights without sacrificing efficiency. This can be made possible with the narrow FWHM of QDs. This industry will make further progress as cost fall and, more crucially, as QDs become more stable enabling integration into more types of LEDs. Prior to that however, companies have proposed film-type QDs to optimize the emission light. However, market response has thus far been lukewarm. In parallel, some seek to deploy QD lights in specialize applications as horticulture in which QDs are used to finetune the emission spectra.
  • Sensors are also a promising proposition. Here, the focus is on QDs' broad absorption characteristics. We can divide the work into two categories: visible and IR/NIR image sensors. In the former, QDs can be cast onto silicon read-out circuits to enable high resolution (small pixel) and highly sensitive images sensors with a global shutter and a large pixel capacitor. This hybrid QD-Si sensor is made possible because of the high sensitivity of the QD layer (if properly fused) and its ability to separate the photosensitive and processing circuits. In the latter approach (IR/NIR sensor), the right QD chemistry (e.g., PbS) can tune the absorption spectra to be sensitive to NI/IR. The QDs can also be added directly on the Si read-out circuit. As such, there will not need to un-monolithic integration of different semiconductor systems with silicon, limiting resolution.
  • Photovoltaics are another interesting application. Here, the QDs can be complementary, helping extend the absorption range. Furthermore, perovskite QDs may hold potential but they are very immature and suffers from various instability issues (Note perovskite thin film PVs are the fastest improving PV technology ever and have now breached the 27% efficiency mark for champion cells). Novel PV technologies, such as perovskites, also enter a fiercely competitive landscape dominated by China and wafer-based Si PV technology. In parallel, others are exploring the use of QDs to enable luminescent solar concentrator in which the QDs absorb and reemit the light over transparent window surfaces.
  • Other: QDs are of course already used in research particularly for imaging. Many other applications such as security applications are also being proposed. We expect that as the technology matures new applications will inevitably be established.
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