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The Quantum Dots Market is estimated to grow from USD 2.0 billion in 2017 to USD 8.5 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 27.0% during the forecast period.
What opportunities does the penetration of quantum dots in LED general lighting present?
Display and lighting are 2 major industries in the quantum dots market. At present, a quantum dot technology is the most attractive alternative to conventional display technologies. QD technology is likely to take a couple of years to establish in the lighting segment. QDs is expected to gain considerable acceptance due to their ability to offer high performance compared to other similar technologies. Quantum dot LEDs will overcome the limitations of traditional lights. The prohibition of the US government on incandescent lamps can make the QD technology more demanding.
QDs hold a good potential to replace the phosphorous-based LEDs in the solid-state lighting (SSL) segment. QDs are expected to revolutionize the solid-state lighting market by giving rise to next-generation LEDs with enhanced energy efficiency and better color output. QDs will be used in general lighting solutions, as an alternative to CFL and LED bulbs, owing to the higher light intensity and energy efficiency enabled by quantum dot technology. The use of quantum dots in LEDs is likely to offer better efficiency, superior color saturation and precision, and a wide range of colors. The adoption of cost-effective QD-based lighting solutions for a broader range of lighting applications would propel the market growth in the near future. For instance, the CFQD Quantum Dots Grow Lights provided by Nanoco Group plc (US) offer optimal spectrums to boost maximum chlorophyll absorption and encourage healthy growth of greenhouse plants using artificial light. QD-based LED lighting is an ideal solution as they offer advantages of energy saving and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions than that of high-pressure sodium (HPS) bulbs and traditional LED units. Specific spectral tuning can be adjusted with the help of quantum dots to better suit the growth of varieties of plants.
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What are the challenges in terms of the use of toxic and heavy metals in quantum dots manufacturing?
In global markets, developing economies such as South Korea and Russia are showing concerns about the use of cadmium due to environmental issues. Heavy-metal contamination is a major concern as excessive heavy metals produce environmental pollution, and the cumulative effects of heavy metalsin vivopose a major threat to human health. However, it is observed that in most cases, cadmium selenide is used as the key raw material. There are 2 primary concerns: the raw materials are rare earth elements and using heavy metals in a household product line has a major safety issue.
Various universities and independent R&D organizations are engaged in commercial scale production of high-quality heavy-metal free quantum dots. Researchers are working on alternative raw materials such as indium, zinc, and other elements from the periodic table for producing QDs. As such, many quantum dots manufacturers such as Nanoco Group plc (US), Quantum Materials Corp (US), and UbiQD (US) are focusing on developing cadmium-free QD materials that are toxic-free and heavy-metal free according to the EU Regulation on Hazardous Substances (RoHS)-. Once they succeed in consuming enough resources of these materials, cadmium-free QD products would be widely available, and the cost of these products will come down. Thus, cadmium-free QDs can act as an alternative solution, and they are expected to dominate the market with their strong performance, safety, and environmental benefits.
Emerging new application areas of quantum dots
Apart from displays and lighting solutions, the optical properties of quantum dots can be used in various other upcoming applications. The QD technology is flexible and versatile; it can be applied in numerous fields such as optoelectronics, medical imaging, and quantum computing.
Optoelectronics is one of the promising markets for the QD technology. Massive research is going on in the field of optoelectronics. High-quality quantum dots can be useful in optical encoding and multiplexing applications owing to their narrow emission spectrums and wide excitation profiles. Several efforts have been made to make use of quantum dots for next-generation optoelectronic devices such as solar cells, lasers, photodetectors, and transistors with the emphasis on improving performance and efficiency. A solar cell is another promising application for QD technology, which is expected to be commercialized in coming years. Researchers are working on QD technology-based solar cells and paints, which will act as a solar power generator if applied on the floor or panels. Some of the universities have developed a solar cell that is 50% more efficient than a conventional solar cell. The unique features such as superior tuneability and sensitivity,due to their three-dimensional quantum confinement, make quantum dots ideal for optoelectronic applications, including lasers, solar cells, and photodetectors.
The demand for quantum dots is expected to grow steadily in biomedical, healthcare, and life sciences applications. They are widely used to study tumor targeting, intracellular processes, diagnostics and cellular imaging at high resolutions, and in vivo observation of cell trafficking and drug delivery applications. The spectral properties of QDs have attracted its adoption in biology and medicine field. QD lasers are poised to emerge as one of the core optical communications technologies, which is likely to aid the telecommunications industry in managing the rising tide of global data traffic.
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