SKC is preparing to produce quantum dot display materials containing no cadmium from the second half of this year. SKC Haas Display, a joint venture of SKC and Dow Chemical, is expected to supply related materials and backlight unit films in packages.
Dow Chemical signed a license contract with Nanoco, a U.S. company in possession of original cadmium-free quantum dot technology, in 2013, and announced last year that it would supply quantum dot materials to Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Dow Chemical is currently building a factory to this end in Cheonan City to put it into operation within the first half of this year.
Samsung Electronics has developed quantum dot technology on its own at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology as well. It is producing quantum dot materials and films in cooperation with Hansol Chemical, Mirae Nanotech, Shinwha Intertek, and others. In the meantime, German company Merck has developed quantum rods instead of quantum dots, and is conducting research on how to apply it for display purposes.
A quantum dot is a conductive semiconductor material 2 nm to 10 nm in size capable of showing visible rays of any desired wavelength. When a quantum dot film is applied to a backlight unit of an LCD device, colors can be reproduced with greater accuracy and variety.
As of now, QD Vision, Nanosys, and Nanoco are producing quantum dot materials, and only Nanoco is in possession of original cadmium-free technology. However, Samsung Electronics succeeded in manufacturing SUHD TVs by using its own Nano Crystal technology this year, and LG Chem is also working on original technology. Under the circumstances, the quantum dot market is likely to grow at a fast pace.
Still, some experts point out that the quantum dot era might be over sooner than expected once the prices of OLED display materials are lowered by LG Electronics and the like. OLED is more suitable for flexible display panels and does not require any backlight units. In addition, OLED is more advantageous than LCD in terms of power efficiency and color reproduction.