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  • QD Vision: A Quantum Leap in Lighting and Display Technology
Dec 2008
WATERTOWN, Mass., Dec. 5, 2008 – The display and solid-state lighting industries are about to experience another game-changing advance in light-emitting technology that will result in performance that far exceeds that of today’s products.

Quantum dot technology and the Quantum Light product platform, developed by the MIT-incubated nanotechnology company QD Vision Inc., is already being designed into new products by consumer electronics, flat panel display, electronic signage and solid-state lighting manufacturers. It promises to out perform liquid crystal displays (LCDs), plasma displays, LEDs and organic LEDs (OLEDs), across the key performance categories of brightness, color purity, power conservation, and design flexibility.

Dan-Button.jpg“QD Vision is helping to create a new generation of lighting solutions for major industries where color, power and design matter,” said Dan Button, the company’s CEO. “Quantum dot technology and the Quantum Light product platform represent both a step change paving the way toward better displays and solid-state lighting products, and a long-term, enabling technology for a broad range of new commercial and national security applications.”

The Quantum Dot Difference

Quantum dots are nanometer-sized, inorganic crystals that create light when stimulated with photons or electrons. Harnessing the light emitting qualities of quantum dots, QD Vision’s Quantum Light product platform is an environmentally friendly, inorganic nanocrystal-based technology for displays and solid-state lighting. QD-Vision-Color.graph.jpg

Leveraging an expanding portfolio of patents from QD Vision and from MIT, the Quantum Light platform combines advanced material and device technologies to deliver three substantial benefits:

• Color: QD Vision has engineered quantum-dot-based nanocrystal solutions to emit light tuned to frequencies across the visible and infrared spectrum. Because quantum dot materials emit pure, finely tuned colors, the Quantum Light product platform provides better color saturation and color rendering than other technologies, without power consumption trade-offs. It is the only materials technology that can be designed to emit any color of light across the entire visible spectrum.

• Power: The Quantum Light platform can directly emit light and color, using less power than other solutions and making it an attractive option for clean-tech applications. In contrast, LCDs utilize white backlights that are filtered to achieve the desired colors, and consume up to ten times the power of quantum dot-based displays.

• Design: QD Vision's quantum dot inks can be applied to virtually any substrate using a wide range of well-known printing and coating techniques. The Quantum LightTM product platform therefore opens up new possibilities in the design and manufacture of consumer and industrial products, including the potential for displays, lighting fixtures, and signage with very large areas, thin and contoured forms, or transparent backgrounds.

Making an Immediate Impact on Consumer Electronics

The high efficiency, color purity, materials stability and reliability, and design flexibility of the Quantum Light product platform make it ideal for multiple consumer electronics applications. It will be used in next-generation user interfaces in mobile phones, mobile devices and personal computers, as well as in flat panel televisions. These initial applications alone represent an addressable market of more than $1 billion by 2012 for quantum dot-based components.

Future applications for QD Vision technology include architectural lighting and general white lighting, digital signage and logos, and solar cells, as well as emitters and detectors for national security applications.

A Company with Deep Roots at MIT

Coe-Sullivan.jpgQD Vision was founded in 2004, but its genesis began almost five years earlier when company co-founder and chief technology officer Seth Coe-Sullivan first arrived at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a PhD candidate in electrical engineering.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the transformation of scientific discoveries into practical, real-world applications that can make people’s lives richer and easier, and create wealth not just for investors but for society as a whole,” Coe-Sullivan explains. “I guess you could say entrepreneurship was genetic. My grandfather was a successful entrepreneur and engineer who started, owned and operated a custom transformer company for decades; my father is an entrepreneur and engineer who sold the medical x-ray business he was part owner of after 15 years. As I was pursuing my own studies and research, I always felt that if the right opportunity presented itself, I might start a company.”

At MIT, he met Vladimir Bulovic´, a professor and pioneer in OLED research who earlier had closely worked with a leading OLED technology company. Coe-Sullivan saw tremendous commercial potential for quantum dots to transform markets for flat-panel displays, including a new generation of thin-film flexible displays, and other major markets.

He and Bulovic´ secured an “Ignition Grant” from MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation, a group funded by serial entrepreneur Desh Deshpande to help MIT researchers realize the commercial potential of their new technologies. The grant supported the team’s research that ultimately resulted in a portfolio of patents and early proofs-of-concept that helped underpin an initial round of funding from two leading venture capital firms in 2005.

With Coe-Sullivan, Jonathan Steckel (who holds a PhD in chemistry from MIT) and Greg Moeller (who earned an MBA at MIT’s Sloan School) as co-founders, a solid team of investors, and Bulovic´ leading its scientific advisory board, QD Vision was on its way.

Unsurpassed Scientific Background

In Professor Bulovic´ and Moungi Bawendi, QD Vision’s scientific advisory board features two of the world’s foremost experts on quantum materials.

Bulovic´ has research interests that include studies of physical properties of organic and organic/inorganic nanocrystal composite thin films and structures, and development of novel optoelectronic organic and hybrid nano-scale devices. By 2008, he had authored over 40 research papers and had more than 30 issued patents in the areas of organic LEDs, lasers, photodetectors, memories, and nanostructured devices.

Bawendi is a tenured faculty member in chemistry at MIT who focuses on creating zero dimensional semiconductor and magnetic quantum materials, and understanding the physical characteristics of molecular devices, including the chemistry, physics, applications and assembly of nanostructures. A pioneer in quantum dot research during his tenure at Bell Laboratories in the 1980s, Bawendi has also served as a scientific advisory board member at Nanosys and a scientific founder of Quantum Dot Corp., focusing on utilizing quantum dots as biochemical labels for research and diagnostic purposes.

Coe-Sullivan’s work spans quantum dot materials, new fabrication techniques (including thin film deposition equipment design), and device architectures for efficient QD-LED light emission. In 2006, he was awarded Technology Review magazine’s TR35 Award, naming him one of the top 35 innovators under age 35, and in 2007 he was selected by BusinessWeek as one of the top entrepreneurs under the age of 30. By 2008, Coe-Sullivan’s work had resulted in more than 20 published papers and patents pending in his fields of expertise.

Executives and Board with Rich Domain Experience

The company recruited uniquely talented executives. QD Vision’s management team is led by Dan Button, who holds a Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from MIT, and has more than two decades of experience in the launching and building of advanced materials companies in global, high-growth markets – including both Fortune 500 organizations (DuPont Electronics, Corning Displays and Rohm & Haas) and three MIT start-ups.

John Ritter, executive vice president and head of product development, holds BS and MA degrees in chemical engineering from MIT, and has more than 20 years’ experience in all aspects of materials, process and product development and engineering at both entrepreneurial companies and global enterprises.

The company is guided by a board of directors that includes non-executive chair Willy Shih, a senior lecturer in technology and operations management at Harvard Business School and the former leader of Eastman Kodak’s Display and Components Group; Edward H. Braun, the chairman of Veeco, a provider of metrology and process equipment solutions used by manufacturers in multiple industries, including semiconductors and lighting; Sean Dalton, managing general partner of Highland Capital Partners; and Jamie Goldstein, general partner of North Bridge Venture Partners.

Building a Foundation for Leadership

Multiple rounds of venture investment have validated QD Vision’s technology leadership and business strategy. In April 2008, the company announced that it had closed a $9 million round of investment from existing investors Highland Capital Partners and North Bridge Venture Partners, and a new investor, In-Q-Tel, the strategic investment firm launched in 1999 by the US Central Intelligence Agency. Since its founding, QD Vision has raised $20 million in venture capital and has booked several million dollars in development contracts from commercial and government customers.


A QD Vision employee works in an air-free environment in one of the company's many laboratories. Photos courtesy of QD Vision.

During the first half of 2008, the company also increased its headquarters office space by 80 percent – with most of the expansion devoted to research and development, testing and manufacturing. It expects to double its workforce to thirty-five people by the end of the year.

“QD Vision has built upon research breakthroughs that enable quantum-dot materials to serve as a platform for the next generation of lighting and display applications,” Button said. “And as the Quantum Light product platform is being designed into new products by our strategic partners, we’re building out our infrastructure to accommodate their commercial production needs. We’re positioning QD Vision to create and seize upon an exceptional opportunity.”

For more information, visit:

QD Vision Inc.
313 Pleasant Street
Watertown, Mass. 02142
Phone: (617) 607-9700

The technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. The science includes light emission, transmission, deflection, amplification and detection by optical components and instruments, lasers and other light sources, fiber optics, electro-optical instrumentation, related hardware and electronics, and sophisticated systems. The range of applications of photonics extends from energy generation to detection to communications and...
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