In an unassuming two-story building in a bland office park in suburban Boston, an MIT spinout is producing material to make beautiful TV images.
On Tuesday, QD Vision received the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from EPA officials for the company’s environmentally benign process of making a type of crystal semiconductor called quantum dots. Its product—a material that creates red and green light from a blue LED—also results in more energy-efficient LCD displays, which are used in TVs and many other consumer electronics.
The nanotechnology company is in the process of commercializing its product through partners. In September, it said that Chinese TV maker TCL is using QD Vision’s Color IQ technology in a 55-inch TV. Sony last year also said the technology will be used in its high-end TV sets.
The focus on consumer electronics represents a change of plans for QD Vision, which originally had planned on making materials for LED bulbs. But in 2010, CEO Jason Carlson shifted the focus toward displays because they represent a larger market in the near term, according to a report. The company has raised more than $80 million since 2004, including $20 million last year.
The difference in a display using its quantum dot material is noticeable—colors are more vibrant and saturated. But the company does face other quantum dot competitors in displays, including Milpitas, CA-based Nanosys, as well as OLED displays, which are expensive but improving.
Before receiving the award, QD Vision executives led a tour of the company’s chemistry lab and production space. Remarkably, three people in a space not much bigger than a typical office are producing quantum dots at commercial scale, turning out enough quantum dot material for thousands of screens.
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