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Apple intensifies research into quantum dot-enhanced displays

post #1 of 36
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A trio of patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday reveal Apple is conducting in-depth research into quantum dot-enhanced electronic device displays.

Quantum Dot
The iPad on top uses Quantum Dot Enhancement Film from Nanosys.


Taken together, Apple's three patent filings describe an advanced system in which quantum dots are disposed across a device display to offer richer colors, better off-axis viewing and overall better performance when compared to a conventional LCD screen.

Apple was first discovered to be working on quantum dot-enhanced displays when the USPTO published a patent application in December, which outlined the use of a dichroic filter to more accurately control luminance.

Thursday's documents are titled "MEMS shutter control for a display utilizing quantum dots," "Light mixture for a display using quantum dots" and "Backlight dimming control for a display utilizing quantum dots." Each invention details a piece of a larger mechanism that may one day be implemented in products like the iPhone or iPad as a way to enhance color accuracy without greatly impacting cost.

MEMS
Source: USPTO


Perhaps the most interesting of the three is Apple's microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) shutter control patent. LCD displays are typically constructed with a backlight layer that sends light through a liquid crystal layer, which is responsible for controlling brightness at individual pixels to produce an image.

The backlight is usually composed of LEDs coated with a phosphor to give off a white light that subsequently moves through the liquid crystal layer to produce color. Color gamut refers to the subset of colors the display is able to create and is a function of the spectral width of produced red, green and blue light.

MEMS


As noted in the patent, one way to enhance color gamut is to replace the LED phosphor with quantum dots, or nanocrystals made from a semiconductor material that exhibits special quantum mechanical characteristics. QDs emit light isotropically during excitation from absorbed energy like light.

Especially advantageous to display makers are QDs' light-emitting properties, which are defined by size and shape. This means the dots can be manufactured to emit very narrow spectrums of light that in turn produce wide color gamuts.

Apple points out, however, that fabricating a backlight structure with integrated QDs would add unwanted complexity to the system considering the dots' light-emitting properties. At the same time, integrating them within the liquid crystal layer is also problematic. Liquid crystal mechanisms require light to be polarized in order to control color and brightness, and QDs emit un-polarized light.

To successfully position the QDs outside of the backlight structure, Apple proposes the complete replacement of the liquid crystal layer with a MEMS shutter control layer. By performing the swap, the display is able to maintain accurate color provided by QDs while at the same time keeping the backlight architecture largely untouched.

MEMS
Illustration of MEMS shutter.


In one embodiment, the MEMS mechanism is composed of a conductive line, or trace, attached to a shutter. An energy source operably connected to a display controller can provide current to the conductive line, which causes it to become attracted to a static line located in such a way that the optical shutter is pulled closed.

The stackup is composed of a backlight, glass panel, MEMS shutter, QD layer and cover glass. Light moves from the backlight through the MEMS shutter and into the QD layer, which in turn emits a specific light in the spectrum. Emitted light can be mixed to reproduce a large color gamut and fine tuned to display images.

Moving to the "Light mixture" document, Apple provides a completely different application of QDs that implements the sheet within a backlight stackup. As mentioned in the above filing, such integration causes issues stemming from the isotropic properties of the QDs and a backlight's emitted light. Problems include non-uniform brightness, color mixing and inaccurate color representation.

Mix


In this model, a liquid crystal layer is disposed over a backlight stackup. The backlight may be direct or edge-type, but instead of being coated with a phosphor layer tuned to output white light, a QD sheet is used. For example, a blue LED -- used for its naturally narrow spectrum -- or UV light can excite QDs, which emit pure color light to the liquid crystal layer.

Problems occur when a QD sheet is too close or too far from a light source, however. The dots may move from excessive heat or the light mix may be poor due to refraction and uneven intensity. To overcome these issues, the patent goes into great detail regarding the use of prisms, diffusers and light guides. With the right combination, a backlight sub-stack may be produced that is not only more accurate, but thinner than existing modules.

Mix


Finally, Apple's "Backlight dimming" invention takes the previous QD-enhanced backlight system and fine tunes it to correct for LED color shift.

In practice, the QD backlight may have dots arranged in RGB groups so that the light, when mixed, produces a white output. Other embodiments call for a blue LED and groups of red and green QDs. In this example, the blue light mixes with emitted red and green light from the QDs to produce white light.

Backlight


As with common LCD panels, the backlight's brightness may be altered through a reduction in supplied current to affect output intensity. However, in a QD backlight stackup such a change would cause a shift in wavelength of light emitted by the blue LED.

By tuning pulse width modulation, the luminance value of light output by the LED can be controlled to within certain parameters, thus minimizing wavelength shift. For example, luminance can be monitored for a set threshold value. If that threshold is breached, a display controller can adapt the duty cycle and drive current to maintain luminance, but keep wavelength shift to a minimum.

At this point it is unknown if Apple will use its QD tech in near-future product applications, though the tech is already being used in other devices like televisions.

Apple's MEMS shutter control and light mixture patent applications credit Shawn R. Gettemy, Jean-Pierre S. Guillou and David A. Doyle as its inventors. The backlight dimming control patent credits Chenhua You and Jean-Jacques P. Drolet as its inventors, while all three applications were filed on Oct. 31, 2012.
post #2 of 36
Mechanical moving parts in a display?

No thanks.
post #3 of 36
DLP works well, you know ..

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post #4 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

Mechanical moving parts in a display?

No thanks.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hydrogen View Post

DLP works well, you know ..

 

Maybe you both need to read a bit more about quantum mechanics and quantum effects before writing nonsense.

post #5 of 36
Pwm for brightness control is a useful trick for this but I wonder what frequency they would have to use. Hopefully much higher than we can detect
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post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post


Maybe you both need to read a bit more about quantum mechanics and quantum effects before writing nonsense.

They were both talking about MEMS. See the article above.
post #7 of 36

You had me at un-polarized light.

I find it odd I cannot use an iPhone in landscape mode while wearing polarized glasses.

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post #8 of 36
I think there is no moving part there, the shutters are form memory alloys that change shape when current is applied.

So they replace LCD slow, subject to aging and limited lifetime, polarized by fma who are very fast, dont wear and are unpolarized. nothing but benefits if it can be done cheaply enough. As usual in tech, it is probably only a matter of doing it mass production style and Apple volumes are high so no worry.

They would be also probably be finer than LCD film.

Only hurdle i see is alignement. The other one of memory alloys, sensibility to magnetic fields, is probably not bad as fields strong enough to do damages would also damage computer or phone.
post #9 of 36

If Apple uses QLED in their future products that means QLED its better than LCD

 

 

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post #10 of 36

Told you. What’d I say? Been saying it for years. They’re not doing OLED.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Told you. What’d I say? Been saying it for years. They’re not doing OLED.

Nice, Why would they use something worse than LCD 

 

 

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post #12 of 36
But Apple doesn't do any research into display technology?¡

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

Told you. What’d I say? Been saying it for years. They’re not doing OLED.

OLED has many benefits over LCD for something like a watch display. You not only get a true blacks for areas that the display not being used with leads to a more pleasing aesthetic in something that is still used as functional jewelry but you also get power efficiency since that part of the display will not be using power.

Could this mean having a watch face you can leave on all day because it's just thin lines for a digital display (think Apple's new font change for iOS 7) or thin lines for the hour and minute hands (have to touch it to see the seconds hand)?

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post #13 of 36
This is real pretty but how about some research into making displays that can be written and drawn on better.

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(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMember View Post
 

Nice, Why would they use something worse than LCD 


It's not worse.  Arguably Samsung should have had user adjustable saturation sooner and not gone for a default that was over-saturated, but the tech itself is superb.

post #15 of 36
This also sounds like it could produce some eye-popping razor-thin 4K monitors or TVs.

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GOA

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GOA

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post #16 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

But Apple doesn't do any research into display technology?¡
OLED has many benefits over LCD for something like a watch display. You not only get a true blacks for areas that the display not being used with leads to a more pleasing aesthetic in something that is still used as functional jewelry but you also get power efficiency since that part of the display will not be using power.

Could this mean having a watch face you can leave on all day because it's just thin lines for a digital display (think Apple's new font change for iOS 7) or thin lines for the hour and minute hands (have to touch it to see the seconds hand)?

Not so many than the LCD has over OLED, i dont see a bright future for a flexible display for example how about "sorry i can my post my idea cuz i'm afraid Samsung will read it and steal it" that could only mean bye bye OLED

 

 

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post #17 of 36

Since Samsung demonstrated the world's first full colour QD display, I think they aren't too worried about OLED being surpassed as they will likely be the ones doing it.

post #18 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post
 


It's not worse.  Arguably Samsung should have had user adjustable saturation sooner and not gone for a default that was over-saturated, but the tech itself is superb.

Yes i heard OLED was improved inclunding brightness now LCD and OLED are pretty much equal.

Test info:

                   OLED                                                             LCD                                                                            

                   True Black   Good                                           True Black   Medium                             

                    Outdoor Visibility   Medium                              Outdoor Visibility   Good

                     Viewing Angle      Medium                                Viewing Angle      Good

                     Viewing Angle Brightness    Medium                  Viewing Angle Brightness   Good

 

not sure about OLED having accurate colors but if u say that was improved ok then


Edited by iMember - 2/6/14 at 9:45am

 

 

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post #19 of 36
Originally Posted by iMember View Post
OLED                                                             LCD                                                               

True Black   Good                                           True Black   Medium                             

Outdoor Visibility   Medium                              Outdoor Visibility   Good

Viewing Angle      Medium                                Viewing Angle      Good

Viewing Angle Brightness    Medium                  Viewing Angle Brightness   Good

 

Because the entire Internet hates the tab key, table version!

 

  LCD OLED
True Black Fair Good
Outdoor Visibility Good

Fair

Viewing Angle Good

Fair

Brightness Good Fair

 

Thanks, table, for making yourself too wide for no reason.

Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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Originally Posted by Slurpy

There's just a TINY chance that Apple will also be able to figure out payments. Oh wait, they did already… …and you’re already fucked.

 

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post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

 

Because the entire Internet hates the tab key, table version!

 

  LCD OLED
True Black Fair Good
Outdoor Visibility Good

Fair

Viewing Angle Good

Fair

Brightness Good Fair

 

Thanks, table, for making yourself too wide for no reason.

Lol, it looks better Thanks!

 

 

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post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

Told you. What’d I say? Been saying it for years. They’re not doing OLED.

I don't think the problems with OLED are insurmountable, but given the solutions afforded by QD technology (integrated with LCD and/or MEMS), there is certainly less need to solve OLED's problems (like scaling up to larger sizes at a reasonable cost and achieving a reasonably long lifetime).

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post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

This also sounds like it could produce some eye-popping razor-thin 4K monitors or TVs.
 
Sony is already using QD tech in their "TRILUMINOS" TVs. [Display Central article link]

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post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by iMember View Post

not sure about OLED having accurate colors but if u say that was improved ok then

I don't think there is any inherent reason OLED can't be accurate but it could be too costly and/or have adverse power consumption issues compared to LCD. But we're talking about a watch face here so I'd say being excessively accurate like an iPhone display is neither a medium or high priority for such a device. If it's possible without much effort or cost then do it but if not it's not an issue.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

Reply
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

I don't think there is any inherent reason OLED can't be accurate but it could be too costly and/or have adverse power consumption issues compared to LCD. But we're talking about a watch face here so I'd say being excessively accurate like an iPhone display is neither a medium or high priority for such a device. If it's possible without much effort or cost then do it but if not it's not an issue.

...that's over your self-imposed post limit. Sorry, but you're cut-off. 1tongue.gif
melior diabolus quem scies
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post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post
 

 

 

Maybe you both need to read a bit more about quantum mechanics and quantum effects before writing nonsense.

 

Well if it isn't Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  Care to elaborate?

post #26 of 36

This could mean the display in the 7th generation iPad that will be released in 2015 will have:

 

- Sapphire glass for the top layer

- quantum dot layer

- MEMS shutter layer

- bottom glass

- backlight

 

This sounds really futuristic.

post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by kForceZero View Post
 

 

Well if it isn't Dr. Sheldon Cooper.  Care to elaborate?

 

Why yes I would. Not!

 

Here is a nice article to get some basic understanding on the topic of MEMS and nanotechnologies, including the link between those:

https://www.mems-exchange.org/MEMS/what-is.html

That should be enough on the "moving parts" comment.

 

DLP is mostly used in projectors and TV sets, not small screens. Currently no company plans on using that technology in phones or tablets, Well, apart from the small and/or built-in projectors. DLP has been around for quite some time, what makes anyone think Apple engineers are not aware of it?

 

Other than that, I am always bewildered by forum posters who think they are more competent than engineers and researchers working on and developing those technologies.

post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post


Other than that, I am always bewildered by forum posters who think they are more competent than engineers and researchers working on and developing those technologies.
So what are you trying to do? Kill 90% of the Internet? I fully agree though, see my sig 1smoking.gif
Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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Knowing what you are talking about would help you understand why you are so wrong. By "Realistic" - AI Forum Member
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post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThePixelDoc View Post


So what are you trying to do? Kill 90% of the Internet? I fully agree though, see my sig 1smoking.gif

Killing is illegal, isn't it? :lol:

post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post
 

 

Why yes I would. Not!

 

Here is a nice article to get some basic understanding on the topic of MEMS and nanotechnologies, including the link between those:

https://www.mems-exchange.org/MEMS/what-is.html

That should be enough on the "moving parts" comment.

 

DLP is mostly used in projectors and TV sets, not small screens. Currently no company plans on using that technology in phones or tablets, Well, apart from the small and/or built-in projectors. DLP has been around for quite some time, what makes anyone think Apple engineers are not aware of it?

 

I think the point is that DLP is indeed mechanical, which is why I asked for clarification since your terse and rather derogatory reply seemed to imply that it wasn't.  No one was arguing about the use of DLP in a mobile device or that Apple isn't aware of it, it was just an example of a system with "moving parts" that works quite well and is very reliable despite that fact.

 

And while we're splitting hairs, what's wrong with the suggestion that MEMS is based on mechanical components too?  It is technically true after all, even if mechanical components on the nano scale behave quite differently than they do on the macro scale.  So a better response to the OP would have been: 

 

"Don't worry about nano scale moving parts, they're much more reliable than big moving parts.  The iPhone's existing sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope) are MEMS-based after all."

 

Other than that, I am always bewildered by forum posters who think they are more competent than engineers and researchers working on and developing those technologies.

 

And while I agree with this statement, I don't think it was really the case here.


Edited by kForceZero - 2/6/14 at 2:19pm
post #31 of 36
Well it isn't even about cost, color accuracy, wider gamuts, wider view range etc.
In every one of these category there is / are already better alternative out there.

The problem is energy usage.
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by kForceZero View Post
 

I think the point is that DLP is indeed mechanical, which is why I asked for clarification since your terse and rather derogatory reply seemed to imply that it wasn't.  No one was arguing about the use of DLP in a mobile device or that Apple isn't aware of it, it was just an example of a system with "moving parts" that works quite well and is very reliable despite that fact.

 

And while we're splitting hairs, what's wrong with the suggestion that MEMS is based on mechanical components too?  It is technically true after all, even if mechanical components on the nano scale behave quite differently than they do on the macro scale.  So a better response to the OP would have been: 

 

"Don't worry about nano scale moving parts, they're much more reliable than big moving parts.  The iPhone's existing sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope) are MEMS-based after all."

 

 

And while I agree with this statement, I don't think it was really the case here.

 

I  agree that it is better to give an informed and educated answers. Trolling, however, is not about knowledge. Bashing 3-word sentences and one-liners are usually exactly that. And I don't like feeding trolls.

 

Short answers are rarely exhaustive, and so they can be challenged. That would be a win for trolls. So, I prefer not giving information but redirecting to comprehensive sources. If the troll wants to continue, they have to spend quite some time reading, and that is a win against them by itself. If they are not trolls and are really willing to learn something new, educated articles are way better than short posts, again a win.

 

So, as I see it, my mistake was not providing reading materials in my first response. For that I apologize.

post #33 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post

 

So, as I see it, my mistake was not providing reading materials in my first response. For that I apologize.

 

Why don't you just admit you overreacted and move on?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by StruckPaper View Post
 

This has zero meaning beyond pretence of knowledge.

 

You must have accidentally replied to the wrong post.  It is THIS that has zero meaning beyond pretense of knowledge:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post

 

Maybe you both need to read a bit more about quantum mechanics and quantum effects before writing nonsense.

 

What I said absolutely does have meaning in layman's terms.  You don't NEED a degree in Quantum Mechanics to have a very basic understanding of how your TV works.

post #34 of 36
Quote:

Originally Posted by kForceZero View Post
 

Why don't you just admit you overreacted and move on?

 

Yes, I did. I thought they were trolling and I overreacted.

 

//P.S. "Part" is not a word I would use to describe components of a micro/nano-scale system (mechanism?). But, that's just me. And StruckPaper clearly stated that my brain is a tabula rasa, except I seem to be incapable of gaining knowledge. :lol: 


Edited by capasicum - 2/7/14 at 10:50pm
post #35 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by capasicum View Post
 

 

 

Maybe you both need to read a bit more about quantum mechanics and quantum effects before writing nonsense.

 

Oooooohhhhh.....

 

LOL :lol:


Edited by AppleSauce007 - 2/8/14 at 10:24am
post #36 of 36
I only skimmed this article but it seems to me this essentially describing a digital way to recreate an interference pattern. This is one step closer to a holographic display. MIT has a similar patent on this kind of technology too, but they didn't use digital MEMS. Instead they use SAM (surface acoustic modulation) to recreate the interference pattern for reflected light. Cool stuff.
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