Samsung is already working on the technology that will replace the QD-OLED

The South Korean giant is paving the way for the future by developing the QNED – Quantum Nano Emitting Diode – display technology, which will undoubtedly emerge as the successor to the QD-OLED.

Promising technology for Samsung

In fact, according to the report published on the Display Supply Chain website, Samsung is currently working on QNED technology, an acronym for Quantum Nano Emitting Diode. QNED works in much the same way as QD-OLED, with one crucial exception: new blue Micro LEDs replace the blue organic diodes (OLEDs), here called Nanorod LEDs, which generate blue light from gallium nitride (GaN).

This technology has several advantages for both manufacturers and users. GaN Nanorod LEDs would make it possible to achieve better efficiency, improve the brightness of the screen and extend its life, but also to avoid any burn-in phenomenon associated with OLEDs. Furthermore, thin-film encapsulation will not be necessary with the QNED structure, one less manufacturing step, and, therefore, a reduction in production costs.

The other advantage of GaN Nanorod LEDs is that Samsung will be able to use the production tools and techniques already available to it in the development of the QD-OLED. Generating blue light, these LEDs will still require the use of the famous Quantum Dots, quantum dots that act as a filter, and allow color conversion.

QNED, a successor already found to the QD-OLED?

While CES 2020 was in full swing last January, Samsung Display presented its first two QD-OLED TV prototypes in a very confidential atmosphere, as only a handful of industrial partners were invited to the event. In charge of R&D for the giant’s various tiles, the Samsung subsidiary is still actively working on the development of the QD-OLED.

According to Samsung’s roadmap, this hybrid technology, which intends to combine the advantages of OLED and QLED, should logically see its first models launched on the market by 2021. However, the QD-OLED has (currently) several significant drawbacks, starting with its high production cost, its sensitivity to burn-in – slab marking, or “screen burn-in” – or even fairly limited yields in terms of brightness and therefore contrast; this last point being critical since the QD-OLED is expected to have a theoretically infinite contrast ratio and profound blacks.

However, the Korean leader has some more ideas and another project in the pipeline. He could go back on his initial plans to replace the QD-OLED quickly.

A pilot production as early as 2021?

The calendar could be very lenient for the QNED since the development of this display technology is likely to take place without too many interruptions and to fit into the QD-OLED production line. Samsung is indeed counting on a pilot production for the first half of 2021.

If these prototypes win the giant’s favor, it is highly likely that the QD-OLED lines will be quickly converted to QNED, especially as this technology can easily be adapted to smaller screens such as smartphones, monitors and others; which is not the case with the QD-OLED, which is intended to equip only high-end TV sets.

Nevertheless, even if the pilot production is successful, Samsung will have to make the most of its expensive production facilities, including the equipment supplied by the Japanese company Canon Tokki, which enables it to produce the blue OLED transmitters.