London: Forget 3D, coming soon, the QD TV, say British scientists who have developed a technology which they claim could be used to produce TV that can be rolled up and carried in a pocket.
A team at Manchester University has actually developed a new form of light-emitting crystals, known as quantum dots, (QD) which can be used to produce ultra-thin televisions.
The tiny crystals, which are 100,000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, can be printed onto flexible plastic sheets to produce a paper-thin display which can be easily carried around, or even onto wallpaper to create giant room-size screens, say the scientists.
They hope the first quantum dot televisions – like current flat-screen TVs, but with improved colour and thinner displays -- will be available in shops by end of next year; a flexible version is expected to take at least three years to reach the market, `The Sunday Telegraph` reported.
Michael Edelman, chief executive of Nanoco, a spin out company set up by the scientists behind the technology at Manchester University, said: "We are working with some major Asian electronics companies. The first products we are expecting to come to market using quantum dots will be the next generation of flat-screen televisions.
"The real advantage provided by quantum dots, however, is that they can be printed on to a plastic sheet that can roll up. It`s likely these will be small personal devices.
"Something else we are looking at is reels of wallpaper or curtains made out of a material that has quantum dots printed on it. You can imagine displaying scenes of the sun rising over a beach as you wake up in the morning."
Most televisions now produced have a liquid-crystal display (LCD) lit by light-emitting diodes (LED), with the screen two to three inches thick. Replacing the LEDs with quantum dots could reduce the thickness.
Shortages of rare earth elements needed in these displays have driven up production costs, driving electronics firms to look for new ways of making them. Quantum dots are made from cheaper semi-conducting materials that emit light when energised by electricity or ultraviolet light.
By changing the size of the crystals, the scientists found they can manipulate the colour of light they produce.
Placing quantum dots on top of regular LEDs can also help to produce a more natural coloured light and Nanoco working to produce new types of energy efficient light bulbs.
They also hope to produce solar powered displays using quantum dots.
Professor Paul O`Brien, an inorganic materials chemist at the University of Manchester who helped top develop the quantum dot technology, said: "By altering the size of the crystals we are able to change the colour they produce.
"It is rather like when you twang a ruler on a desk and the noise changes, the same is happening with the light produced by the quantum dots.
"As the colours are very bright and need little energy it has generated huge excitement in the electronics industry -- the quality of display they can produce will be far superior to LCD televisions."