The global quantum dot (QD) material market is projected to reach US$550 million by 2034. However, this remarkable figure merely scratches the surface of the potential magnitude the market of their enabled products is set to attain, especially in one of QD’s potential application markets: displays. IDTechEx has recently published its view on global QD markets and enabling technologies, with more details that can be found in “Quantum Dot Materials and Technologies 2024-2034: Trends, Markets, Applications”.
QDs were first discovered in 1980. They are semiconductor nanocrystals in the range of 2-10 nanometers (10-50 atoms) with size-tunable features. They exhibit quantum confinement effects due to their nanoscale dimensions, leading to remarkable optical and electrical characteristics. Both QD’s photoluminescent and electroluminescent features can be applied for display applications, with different levels of commercial readiness.
“QD on Edge” adoption appeared during 2013 to 2016, with QDs placed between the row of LED and the LGP. This solution is going obsolete for a few reasons, including the limitation to be used only for edge-lit displays, requiring modification of back light unit assembly, and thus difficult to scale. In addition, one of the major players, QD Vision, left the business. Quantum dot enhancement film (QDEF) was introduced to the market in 2013, and they are still the dominant QD product today, with the advantages of being applicable to both edge-lit and direct-lit display types, easy implementation adopted to existing display manufacturing processes, lower temperature and lower light flux requirements, etc. QDEF has been explored to add barrier-free and eye-safe versions into the portfolio in 2021 and 2023, respectively.
Compared with the success of QDEF, the idea of quantum dot on glass (QDOG) was not successful. Combining glass light guide plate (LGP) and QDEF, it was aiming for a thinner and simplified design. However, the higher final price, application restrictions to only edge-lit displays with glass LGP, and in-house know-how requirements to handle the glass have made them decline, with niche applications only. QD color converter (QDCC) can be applied to both OLED and micro-LED displays, with the former already commercialized in 2022. Other emerging adoption types also include “QD on Chip”, with QDs directly deposited in the LED package on the chip, as well as quantum dot light emitting diode (QLED) displays using QDs as the emissive pixels.
The emerging adoption approaches are set to revolutionize the display industry while opening up lucrative business opportunities in an expanding market. For instance, for the QDCC implementation, instead of placing QDs in a film above the LGP, QDs act as the color converters, as shown below. They offer clear advantages, such as full color with improved color gamut, high brightness, and wider view angles compared with white OLED. QDCCs for OLED and micro-LED (μLED) or on-chip type are gaining momentum, facilitated by material advancements and fabrication technique improvement, which could eventually surpass the film-type.
Additionally, this analysis recognizes QDs as the ultimate emissive material for displays, tracking efficiency and lifetime improvements while delving into persistent challenges regarding performance, lifetime, deposition/patterning, and device design.
With QDs being able to provide distinctive value propositions, they are implemented in an increasing number of displays with various formats. Currently, QD-containing displays are usually marketed as premium, when they are combined with LCD to enhance the color gamut, appearing in almost all displays with mini-LED backlight units and adopted in OLED displays to offer better color and higher luminance without size limitation.
As these existing applications continue to evolve and solidify their place in the display market, the anticipation of new products on the horizon is driving optimism. With each technological leap, QDs are redefining the boundaries of what is achievable in terms of visual quality and energy efficiency. This, in turn, pushes the market forward, promising a substantial increase in market value as QD-enabled products continue to shape the future of display technology.
IDTechEx Research has been deeply engaged in the exploration of quantum dot technologies and markets since 2013. Throughout this period, IDTechEx has maintained a steadfast commitment to staying at the forefront of the latest research advancements and market trends. This has been achieved through an extensive interview program, direct interactions with companies, and active participation in relevant conferences and events.
Furthermore, IDTechEx Research has engaged closely with many of its clients, enabling a comprehensive grasp of their requirements. This collaboration has facilitated the provision of valuable insights into both the technological landscape and the dynamics of the market. Countless clients have benefited from this engagement, receiving strategic guidance for navigating the complexities of quantum dot technology innovation and commercialization.
Drawing from over two decades of experience in the analysis of advanced electronic materials and devices, IDTechEx Research has refined its expertise in evaluating emerging technologies. This extensive history provides a vantage point from which to understand the trajectories of various technologies, encompassing both their successes and setbacks.
If you would like to learn more details about QDs properties, their existing and future applications in various fields, challenges, trends and opportunities, business landscape, and market potential, please refer to the IDTechEx report for further information: “Quantum Dot Materials and Technologies 2024-2034: Trends, Markets, Applications”.
IDTechEx Asks if Immersive Wireless Audio Is the Gateway to an AR/VR Hardware Ecosystem
BOSTON, June 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Sony recently announced ‘Project Q’, comprising the development of a hand-held PlayStation and corresponding high-end earbuds. The inclusion of earbuds initially seems surprising since headphones and earphones are amongst the most mature in the near hundred billion-dollar wearables market. However, with Apple’s recent launch revitalizing interest in virtual and mixed reality headsets, IDTechEx proposes that increasing adoption of immersive consumer experiences is set to disrupt the hearables industry.
Gaming Is the “Killer App” for Immersive-Audio
Consumers have continued to demand greater audio experiences from their headphones and earphones. From true-wireless stereo to active noise cancellation, users today expect the audio content they consume to be enjoyable and practical to listen to while relaxing, commuting, working, and, crucially, gaming.
Gaming is a particularly good application for even more advanced audio features, for example, spatial audio. Spatial audio can recreate three-dimensional sonic experiences, making for more immersive simulations of attending a concert or inhabiting a virtual environment – imagine being able to locate a competitor on a virtual battlefield from the audio alone. Increased immersion is a crucial value proposition of virtual reality gaming; as a result, audio is set to play an increasingly important role.
Although many major manufacturers already include immersive audio functionality like spatial audio, console-specific earbuds packed with the latest features to enhance the gaming experience are still likely to attract platform-loyal customers. In other words, audio is an increasingly essential aspect of gaming. As such, earbuds are a natural extension of the existing hardware ecosystem of controllers and wearable technology on offer.
Competitive Edge on ‘Lossless’ Audio
As well as noise-canceling and spatial audio, buzz is growing around ‘lossless’ audio. The adage that the digitization of music takes away from the magic of analog sound (e.g., vinyl) is now argued as obsolete since ‘lossless’ compression preserves so much of the original data as to be indistinguishable. Yet, while Apple has released vast amounts of music content in a ‘lossless’ format, their flagship Airpods are not yet compatible. Sony, on the other hand, are promising compatibility with their PlayStation earbuds.
The jury is still out as to whether ‘lossless’ audio is an essential consumer experience or just of interest to discerning audiophiles. Regardless, to date, it has not been offered due to Bluetooth limitations, which, if overcome, represents a significant technological achievement. As a result, this functionality will offer a competitive advantage over other earbud manufacturers, with the gaming market an ideal target to find early adopters and create mass-market appeal.
Strategic Maneuvers for the Mixed Reality Market
Unlike the fully virtual reality market, the consumer mixed reality headset market is in its early stages. However, many still believe that in the not-so-distant future, we may loosen our dependence on smartphones and instead adopt augmented reality glasses, interacted with by wearables such as smart-watches but also ear-buds. As a result, there are trends in the hearable market resulting from players seeking to position themselves as ‘mixed-reality ready’.
By creating a gaming hardware eco-system of VR headsets and earbuds, Sony and others are positioning themselves for the ‘mixed-reality headset plus earbud’ future. This would see them well placed to challenge Apple and Samsung with a complete hardware ecosystem.
Despite its maturity, technology innovation continues to drive growth in the hearables portion of the wearable technology market. Trends in the virtual and mixed reality market are the latest to influence this sector, and as a result, gaming is now proving disruptive in 2023. In the short term, releasing gaming-specific audio hardware is an essential strategy to maintain market share as demand grows for immersive features such as noise cancellation, spatial, and perhaps loss-less audio. However, the motivation behind the announcement of gaming-specific earbud technology now is likely to run deeper and represent the growing competition between consumer electronics giants like Sony and Apple to dominate the burgeoning virtual and mixed reality hardware market.
For more insights into the wearable technology market across multiple form factors, including wrist worn, earphones, AR and VR headsets, electronic skin patches, and more – see the comprehensive IDTechEx report, “Wearable Technology Forecasts 2023-2033“.
IDTechEx guides your strategic business decisions through its Research, Subscription and Consultancy products, helping you profit from emerging technologies. For more information, contact [email protected] or visit www.IDTechEx.com.
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