Quantum dots will soon come to a television near you. Various Sony Bravia television models from 2013 will include quantum dots in their flatscreen technology, these screens will transmit enhanced color images when compared to other TVs currently on the market.
Quantum dots are quite simply nanoparticle semiconductors, about 10 nm in diameter.
Since their discovery in the early 1980s we have seen a period of intense research around these tiny materials up until their first real application in 2002 as fluorescent imaging labels for proteins. Research and interest continues with many small and medium enterprises specializing in producing various grades of quantum dot. The shape and size of quantum dots has a direct impact on properties of the electrons, and their energy gap. So by altering the shape and size you alter the dynamics of the energy gap which determines the color of the light emitted when an electron moves from one level to another.
Exploiting the electroluminescent potential of quantum dots has revolutionary implications for not only a new wave of televisions but also mobile phones, computer monitors and displays, to name but a few.
This is a significant development in the history of quantum dots because if Sony's new enhanced televisions are successful and demand for quantum dots increases, we could see a drop in prices which should fuel more research with additional applications not too far on the horizon. At the moment, even at the low quality end of the market quantum dots cost several hundred dollars per gram and range up to tens of thousands of dollars per gram.