Apple patents on the matter of quantum dot displays began to surface in 2014. A second patent surfaced in 2016 and then there was a flurry of quantum dot related patents that emerged in H2 2017 (01, 02, 03, 04 05 & 06). Then in March of this year Bloomberg reported that Apple had a secret micro-LED plant in California for testing purposes.
One of the patents discovered in Europe in 2017 pointed to Apple using quantum dot technology for their micro-LED displays. Today the US Patent & Trademark Office published a patent application from Apple that relates to quantum dot technology titled "Quantum Dot Integration Schemes" that connects the dots between Quantum Dot technology and micro-LED displays. The lead inventor of this patent is none other than Andreas Bibl, CEO at LuxVue Technology, a company that Apple acquired in 2014. The company is still called LuxVue until this very day.
Apple's patent is highly technical and definitely an unfriendly read for general consumers of digital devices. There are no cuddly segments in the patent describing what the displays will be used for specifically. However, Apple did resort to using a shotgun approach stating that "the display system may be a television, tablet, phone, laptop, computer monitor, automotive heads-up display, automotive navigation display, kiosk, digital camera, handheld game console, media display, ebook display, or large area signage display."
There's another tiny line in the patent wherein it notes that the quantum dot displays will provide "higher efficiency and longer lifespan than common organic LEDs (OLEDs) commonly included in mobile electronics devices and televisions. Higher efficiency, in turn, may allow for lower energy or power usage for the display system."
Apple's patent FIG. 9 presented below is a schematic cross-sectional side view illustration of a bare core-shell quantum dot with bound ligands; FIG. 10 is a schematic cross-sectional side view illustration of a nano-encapsulated quantum dot; and FIG. 11 is a schematic cross-sectional side view illustration of a micro-encapsulated quantum dot.
Apple's patent FIGS. 14A to 14E are schematic cross-sectional side view illustrations of LED and quantum dot layer arrangements in a RGB pixel system.
Apple's patent application 20180190625 was originally filed back on December 28, 2017 and published today by USPTO. Considering that this is a patent application, the timing of such a product to market is unknown at this time.
Some of the Apple engineers listed as inventors on this patent include: Elmar Gehlen, Sr. Module Process Engineer; Ion Bita, Hardware Engineer that came to Apple via Qualcomm; Kelly McGroddy, Hardware Engineer who was Director of LED Device Technology at LuxVue; Roland Van Gelder, Sr. Hardware Development Engineer who came to Apple via Himax who makes the best Liquid-Crystal-On-Silicon (LCOS) micro-display solutions; and Jonathan Steckel, Emerging Display Technologies who came to Apple via QD Vision. Samsung acquired QD Vision's IP for $70 million in 2016 to advance for their Quantum Dot televisions. For engineers wanting to check out Apple's patent, click here.
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