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June 16th, 2011
Dotting the eyes
Nanosys's quantum-dot-enhancement film, as the company calls its product, uses the dots to tweak the spectrum from the LEDs so that it is closer to that of the white light the human eye is used to. It does this, as the product's name suggests, by passing the LED light through a transparent film peppered with quantum dots, which absorb and re-emit some of it.
These dots are of two sizes. The larger re-emits the absorbed energy as red light. The smaller re-emits it as green. The final, filtered image is thus drawn from a broader palette than is permitted to an existing LCD—50% broader, according to Nanosys.
The other advantage Nanosys claims for its technology is that it can be fitted easily into existing manufacturing processes. It is simply a matter of replacing the diffuser layer with a quantum-dot-enhancement film. Making the film itself is easy, too. The dots, composed of a semiconductor called indium phosphide, are sprayed onto a transparent plastic sheet that is then covered with a second sheet. That done, the whole thing is heat-sealed. The film can therefore be manufactured continuously in a reel-to-reel process a bit like printing. This cuts costs enormously.
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