Flexible quantum dot TVs: coming soon to your living room

by Dale Wright

What will you be watching movies on this Christmas? Have you treated the family to a swish new HD or 3D TV?

In three or four years’ time, we could all be watching Christmas movies on our living room walls or carrying our TVs around in a backpack. Brand new ultra-thin QD-LED screen nanotechnology has been developed at the University of Manchester and Harvard University and prototypes are reportedly being developed already.

QD screens are made up of millions of microscopic crystal semi-conductors called quantum dots. Each dot is six nanometres wide − that’s 100,000 slimmer than a human hair. This amazing pixel density gives the screen incredible definition compared to even the best HD TV sets.

Quantum dots can be arranged on very thin plastic to make flexible, bendable screens that can be rolled up, pasted on a wall or even hung as curtains. The screens are a fraction of the width (and weight) of a flat screen TV.

QD TVs could replace the screens on our mobile devices too: they use less power than even the thinnest OLED screens, so we could even see the advent of solar powered smartphones once the technology becomes established. Rumour has it that some of the biggest electronics manufacturers in the world are testing QD TV screens as LED screens become more expensive to manufacture.

Anyone who has tried an LED ceiling light in their home probably found that the white light was very clinical and blue-toned. Manufacturers are hoping to layer the LEDs with quantum dots in order to help LED lights give off a more natural white tone. Quantum dots could also be used in super-efficient, low-power lasers.

Sony have made several prototype flexible TVs, including a small OLED screen which could be rolled around a pen. However, the technology is currently not suitable for domestic use because the pixels fade over time and the screens are incredibly expensive to manufacture. Thanks to quantum dot technology, flexible screens could soon be a reality, and we could all be wearing our TVs and smartphones on our wrists in a few years’ time.

What do you think about flexible screen technology?