According to reports out of Korea, Samsung Display (SD) is expected to start investing in production equipment for its version of quantum dot nanorod LED (QNED) display panels in 2021.

Citing UBI Research, The Elec, a Korean technology business news site, said this week that SD has now improved its QNED technology sufficiently enough to begin shelling out for the infrastructure needed to start manufacturing panels based on it.

Samsung’s reported QNED technology is to use self-emissive GaN-based blue light emitting Nanorod LEDs to replace OLED as a blue light source. This is said to allow higher efficiencies, increased brightness, and longer panel life without burn-in vulnerability. Quantum dots (QLED) are then used to convert the blue light source to make red and green pixels needed to present a full wide color gamut with high color volume characteristics.

The Elec report said UBI found 94 patents filed by SD in the second half this year, including references to significant improvements made to the technology since patent filings made in the first half of the year.

In a related development, web site FlatPanels HD reported Wednesday that SD sister company Samsung Electronics has filed for a number of new QLED-related technology trademarks in various regions of the world. This includes the trademark “Samsung QNED” found filed in Canada. Other reported trademarks include: “QLED Neo”, “QLED Platinum”, “QLED+”, and “QLED Z”, the latter two of which were first reported by German website 4KFilme.

FlatPanels HD said it also found a trademark application for “Quantum Matrix”, which the site speculates could be a reference to a new miniLED backlight system for a possible line of Samsung mini LED-backlit LCD TVs possibly in the works for next year. Not surprisingly, the company also filed to trademark “Samsung micro LED”, for use with microLED modular panel displays it has marketed to upscale and commercial clients for the past couple of years.

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Meanwhile, according to UBI reporting, SD’s QNED backplane has a 7T2C thin-film transistor (TFT) structure that newly uses an oscillator transistor to align and place together a nanorod LED and repair transistor.

UBI said that QNED’s circuit design appears to be similar to that of Samsung’s TFT structure for mobile organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays. Conventional large-sized OLED uses 3TIC structure, the research firm added.

Yield rate was cited as the key issue with QNED technology. Around 10 to 20 nanorod LEDs will be used per pixel, and proper alignment is critical to prevent the pixel from short circuiting, the report said. This necessitates placing it together with a repair transistor to correct any such problems as they occur, UBI Research said.

Exactly when SD will be ready to bring the just four-year-old QNED display technology to market remains to be seen, but the investment in production equipment suggests it could be available in or close to 2022.

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By Greg Tarr

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