3M’s QDEF tech promises more color rich, ‘stunning’ tablet displays

by David Needle

May 21 2013

A flat panel display without QDEF (left) and with QDEF (right).
A flat panel display without QDEF (left) and with QDEF (right).

Apple significantly upped the tablet display ante last year with the release of the first Retina display iPad, featuring richer colors and higher resolutions.

Competitors scrambled to match and even exceed the iPad’s high res specs, setting the display bar that much higher.

Now 3M says it’s ready to deliver a new generation of display for smartphones, tablets and televisions, that are lighter, brighter and more energy efficient. 

3M’s new Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) film offers up to 50% more color than current LCD devices, according to the company.

“One of the many advantages of the new 3M QDEF solution is the film’s ability to deliver richly-saturated colors, while minimizing power consumption – a difference you can clearly see,” said Ty Silberhorn, VP and general manager of 3M’s Optical Systems Division.

Working with materials architect firm Nanosys, 3M says it will have the 3M QDEF solution available to customers (i.e. device makers) for their “design cycles” later this quarter. The new film replaces one already found inside LCD backlights, which means the manufacturing process requires no new equipment or process changes for the LCD manufacturer, speeding the process of bringing these displays to market.

“Improving color performance for LCDs with simple, drop-in manufacturing solutions will create a stunning new visual experience for consumers,” said Jason Hartlove, president and CEO, Nanosys, Inc.

Optimizing color displays with quantum dots

As 3M explains it, QDEF uses the light emitting properties of quantum dots to create an ideal backlight for LCDs - one of the most critical factors in the color and efficiency performance of LCDs.

A quantum dot, which is 10,000 times narrower than a human hair, can be tuned to emit light at very precise wavelengths. As a result, display makers can create a highly-optimized backlight that only produces the exact wavelengths of red, green and blue light needed by an LCD for optimal color and energy performance.

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