Imagine better resolution, colour and definition on your television, it costs less to power, it's thinner and doesn’t give off residual heat. This is the television scientists at the Canadian Light Source (CLS) are aiming to develop for the future.
Over the summer, researchers from the University of Toronto spent time at the CLS in Saskatoon, using one of the CLS's 22 beam lights to develop blue quantum dot technology.
"We're trying to make a better display. We're trying to make it more colourful and more capable to build a high res display so you don't see glitch images and we're also trying to make it more efficient so you have longer battery life and maybe cheaper electricity bill," said Yitong Dong, a chemistry researcher at the University of Toronto.
Quantum dots are nanocrystals that glow, and when a quantum dot glows, it creates pure light in a precise wavelength of red, blue or green. According to the CLS, conventional LEDs found in our TV screens today, produce white light that is filtered to achieve desired colours, a process that leads to dimmer, muddier hues.
Through chemical development and analysis Dong was able to build a blue quantum dot and created a special structure to stabilize the quantum dots.
Dong said televisions are made up of billions of nanocrystals, which are activated by a white backlight. To produce the desired colours on the television, insulators filter out and block parts of the white light to emit the desired red, green and blues.
Blue light is a higher energy light which can excite and activate other lower energy colours.
“The idea is that if you have a blue LED, you have everything. We can always down-convert the light from blue to green and red," Dong said.
However, stability remains an issue with blue dots.
“Long term stability is one of these issues we're trying to overcome,” Dong said.
Gianluigi Button is the science director at the CLS. He said the beam light used for this research allowed scientists to examine, on a large scale, quantum dots that measure 10,000 times smaller than the thickness of a human hair.
He said quantum-dot televisions are already commercially available known as QLED TV's, but nothing on the market exists where they use blue quantum dots. Button said it will be several years before blue dot technology is developed, but there will be a noticeable difference.
"The brightness will be much higher, more vivid colours, and energy consumption will be much lower," Button said. "Televisions will be more efficient, they won't emit as much heat."
Dong's research and findings were published in Nature Nanotechnology.