Machine Design

Move over LCDs: Quantum-dot LEDs for consumer electronics

According to Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers, quantum dot-organic light-emitting devices (QD-OLED) may one day replace LCDs as the flat-panel display of choice for consumer electronics.

Researchers combined organic materials with high-performing inorganic nanocrystals to create the hybrid-optoelectronic structure. Quantum dots are nanometer-scale "boxes" that selectively hold or release electrons. Unlike LCDs, which must be lit from behind, quantum-dot LCDs generate their own light. Depending on size, the dots can be tuned to emit any color in the rainbow and with richer color than other sources produce. The latest MIT QD-OLED contains a single layer of quantum dots sandwiched between two organic thin films. Organic molecules currently used in OLEDs as organic semiconductors deliver electrical charges to the quantum dots. QD-OLEDs may also be used to calibrate wavelengths for scientific purposes, generate wavelengths visible only to robot eyes, or miniaturize scientific equipment.

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