QD Vision’s Quantum Dots Warm Up the Market for LED Lighting

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Button met Nexxus CEO Mike Bauer at a conference. The two began discussing how quantum dots could enhance the performance of LEDs. The companies eventually agreeed to a strategic alliance.

QD Vision was founded in 2004 by a team of researchers from MIT. Co-founder Seth Coe-Sullivan, who wrote his Ph.D. thesis for the electrical engineering department on incorporating quantum dots into LED structures, is the startup’s chief technology officer. Co-founder Vladimir Bulovic, an MIT professor, is a scientific advisor to the company, as is another MIT researcher, Moungi Bawendi.

QD Vision has secured nine patents and has more than 120 patent applications pending. The Nexxus Lighting launch is only the first of many, according to Button. “We are collaborating with most major manufactures of LED-based lamps and fixtures, and related product launches are expected to begin in 2010,” he tells Xconomy.

The colors emitted by quantum dots depend on the sizes of the crystals. The smallest dots emit blue light, and the largest red.

Aside from home or commercial lighting, QD Vision says the technology could be used to lower the cost and improve the efficiency of liquid-crystal displays like those in TVs and cell phones, which typically use LED backlights. LCD screens using quantum-dot-enhanced LED backlights use 30 percent less power and require 30 percent fewer LEDs, according to the company. Button says QD Vision is working with consumer electronics companies and expects that TVs, laptops, and handsets using the technology will debut in 2011.

The technology may also make it possible to build extremely thin displays. QD Vision is working with government agencies such as the U.S. Army’s Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorateon micro-displays using quantum dot-based light-emitting devices.

The company has raised $33 million in financing from venture capital firms North Bridge Venture Partners, Highland Capital Partners, DTE Energy Ventures, and In-Q-Tel, the venture funding arm of the U.S. intelligence community. Last year the New England Clean Energy Council named QD Vision as its Emerging Company of the Year.

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