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Exclusive Speaker Interview with Kim De Nolf, Co-Founder and CEO, QustomDot

Ahead of her participation at this year's Phosphors & Quantum Dots Industry Forum Online, we spoke to Kim De Nolf, Co-Founder and CEO at QustomDot, to learn more about the work being done to widen the application field of quantum dots, overcoming challenges, and the need for collaboration within the Micro-LED eco system.

Why have you decided to present at the 2020 Phosphors and Quantum Dot Industry Forum?

In January of this year we have launched QustomDot, an advanced materials spin-off of Ghent University. Presenting at the 2020 Phosphors and Quantum Dot Industry Forum is an excellent opportunity to introduce our company to the industry and to expose our technology to the most relevant players in the field.

This year, instead of an in person meeting the conference will be 100% virtual. What value do you think this format will add to delegate experience?

Although we cannot meet everyone to network in person, I think a virtual conference offers some benefits as well. Everyone can enjoy a ‘front row seat’ during the talks, one can re-watch the prerecorded presentations and a lot of time will be gained because there is no need to travel.

Your presentation is entitled " Towards Future Display Technologies: On-chip Grade Quantum Dots " can you tell us why you felt this topic should be shared with this audience?

Future display applications such as various Micro-LED applications are still facing some challenges before being commercialized. What if there was a way to reduce the complexity of driving electronics in Micro-LED displays or a way to resolve the issue of poor performance and cost of native red & green Micro-LED? We believe quantum dots can help solve these issues and this is exactly what QustomDot is working towards. The QustomDot technology focuses on improving the reliability of RoHS compliant quantum dots, which will enable device makers to use quantum dots directly onto the (micro)LED chip.

Your work is geared towards delivering on-chip quantum dots for display applications. Up until now, the industry seems content to have quantum dots in films. What are the advantages of on-chip quantum dots, and considering their challenging operational environment, how does your work show they can compete with quantum dot films?

The quantum dots in film have enabled the use of quantum dots in commercially available products such as the LCD. This was a large step for the quantum dot and display industry. In order to widen the application field of quantum dots, we feel quantum dots need to be applied directly on the LED chip. It opens numerous possibilities for new applications. Restrictions are lifted when quantum dots are applied on chip. In addition, the industry can use all the benefits of solution processable quantum dots for device fabrication, as they can be (inkjet) printed or applied on the wafer scale.

What additional industry barriers/challenges exist, technical or otherwise, that prevent progress? How does your presentation help to address those challenges?

There are several challenges for on-chip grade quantum dots, particularly in the Micro-LED field. You need to absorb a lot of light in a very thin layer, conversion must be efficient, etc. The biggest challenge is stability (photo, thermal, chemical) of quantum dots themselves, particularly in a thin film and at very high solid loading. These are the challenges QustomDot wants to overcome with its technology. QustomDot’s roadmap is targeting stable quantum dots at relevant conditions of the Micro-LED display: high efficiency at high solid loadings, in thin films and with a stability that makes such devices possible.

Why should people log in and listen to your talk?

People should log in and listen to my talk if they are excited about the application of quantum dots in the Micro-LED market and want to learn how we are going to solve the color conversion issue.

What are you most looking forward to at this year's online conference?

I am looking forward to seeing the advances in quantum dot technology realized by the different players in the industry. It has been 1.5 years since the previous edition of Phosphors and Quantum Dot Industry Forum, and I am sure a lot of the talks show very interesting progress. Apart from that, I have noticed some new players in the industry and am looking forward to learning about their technologies and getting to know new people.

Additional thoughts?

Solving the remaining technology challenges in Micro-LED will require a close collaboration between players in the Micro-LED eco-systems. QustomDot is seeking to establish close collaborations with Display makers that have on-chip color-conversion via RoHS-compliant quantum dots (Cd-free) on their technology or product roadmap.