Along with 5G and system semiconductors, Lee Jae-yong, vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, has chosen quantum dot (QD) displays as Samsung’s future growth engine. Lee announced a 13 trillion qon investment plan in the next-generation display technology to turn the tide for the Korean display industry that was threatened by China's display makers.
QD display technology is considered a game changer that can replace liquid crystal displays (LCDs), the current mainstay of the global display market.
Quantum dots are small nanometer-sized semiconductor crystals that enhance color reproduction and viewing angle as they can freely adjust the wavelength of light according to particle sizes. Samsung Display explains that if quantum dots are applied by inkjet printing to organic and inorganic light emitting sources that can emit light, a display can show clearer images.
Until now, display makers implemented this technology by adding quantum dot film to LCD panels, but the new line to be built by Samsung Display will go one step further by applying QDs to self-emitting light sources such as organic light emitting diodes (OLED). As QDs are self-luminous, QD displays are thinner than LCDs and can create various display designs.
Samsung Display plans to take this step further by developing a new inorganic light emitting material that complements the weak durability of organic materials. To this end, the company plans to transfer its existing LCD workforce to the QD lines and hire professionals who will conduct research on QD materials and process development.
If Samsung Display switches its large-scale display production lines to next-generation QD displays, LCDs’ status will be inevitably demoted. In particular, as Samsung holds more than 30 percent of the global TV market and more than half of the U.S. market for premium TVs costing $2,500 or more, Samsung will be able to make a big and quick change in the world TV market.
In this case, China display makers will be hit hard inevitably. Even for Chinese display makers, it is not easy to switch to QD displays immediately as they have invested in LCDs massively over the past 10 years to catch up with Korean display makers.
Industry watchers believe that a shift to next-generation displays will be inevitable, as LCDs have been the mainstay of the display industry for about 30 years after cathode-ray tubes were kicked out of the market in the mid-1990s. In particular, as the era of 5G telecommunications and 8K TVs has begun, a need has arisen to develop next-generation displays with fast response speed and color expression that LCDs cannot achieve.