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Nanosys Inc.
Advanced Materials
Consumer electronics
Quantum dots
Founded2001 (2001)
FounderLarry Bock
233 S. Hillview Dr
Milpitas, California
, U.S.
Area served
Key people
Jason Hartlove
(President and CEO)
Number of employees

Nanosys is a nanotechnology company located in Milpitas, California, founded in 2001.[1] Nanosys designs products for displays based on quantum dots.


Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF)[edit]

Nanosys Quantum Dot Enhancement Film, or QDEF, is an optical film component for LED driven LCDs. Each sheet of QDEF contains trillions of tiny Quantum Dot Phosphors. QDEF enables LED-backlit LCDs to be brighter and more colorful by providing a high quality, tri-color white light from a standard blue LED light source. Larger than a water molecule, but smaller than a virus, these tiny phosphors convert blue light from a standard Gallium Nitride (GaN) LED into different wavelengths based upon their size. Larger dots emit longer wavelengths (red), while smaller dots emit shorter wavelengths (green). Blending together a mix of dot colors allows Nanosys to precisely engineer a new spectrum of light to customer specifications.[2]

The Quantum Dots are tuned to create better color by changing their size during fabrication to emit light at just the right wavelengths. Traditional light emitting materials such as crystal phosphors have a broad fixed spectrum. Quantum dots can convert light to nearly any color in the visible spectrum, giving display designers the ability to tune and match the spectrum more accurately to color filters while improving energy efficiency. Designed to replace the functionality of a diffuser sheet while actively converting color, QDEF can be added to an LCD's film stack with little change in overall thickness or manufacturing process (Fig 1).

QDEF was announced on May 17, 2011 at the Society for Information Display (SID) Display Week tradeshow.[3][4] It has been adopted in products such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX 7 (2013)[5] and the ASUS Zenbook NX-500 (2014).[6]

At the Consumer Electronics Show 2015 it became known that Nanosys has licensed Samsung Electronics as well as 3M to manufacture QDEF products. QDEFs from 3M are used by top US TV brand Vizio (R-Series) as well as Chinese LED-backlit LCD TV manufacturers Hisense (ULED TV) and TCL (QLED TV) TV sets.[7]

Fig 1: Exploded diagram showing QDEF integration into a standard LCD


Announced just after CES in January 2010 as part of a commercial agreement with Korean consumer electronics manufacturer and LG subsidiary LG Innotek[8][9] The quantum rail is a glass capillary optical component containing red and green quantum dots that is inserted between the LEDs and the lightguide panel (LGP) of an LED LCD in manufacturing to improve color gamut.

Fig 2: QuantumRail LED LCD implementation diagram


  • Society for Information Display Display Component of the Year Award 2017: Hyperion Quantum Dots[10]
  • Society for Information Display Best in Show 2015: Small booth category, Cadmium-Free Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) comparison demo[11]
  • Society for Information Display Best in Show 2014: Small booth category, Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF) High Dynamic Range, wide color gamut demo with Dolby[12][13]
  • Society for Information Display Gold Component of the Year Award 2012: Quantum Dot Enhancement Film (QDEF)[14]
  • Society for Information Display Best in Show 2011: Small booth category[15]
  • Silicon Valley Business Journal Emerging Technology Awards: Winner, life sciences[16]
  • Wall Street Journal 2010 Technology Innovation Awards: Runner up, semiconductors[17]

Founders, funding, and patents[edit]

Nanosys was founded by Larry Bock, Charles Lieber and Paul Alivisatos. They were subsequently joined by Steve Empedocles, Wally Parce and Calvin Chow.

Major funders of the company include Venrock Associates, Samsung, Arch Venture Partners, Intel, El Dorado Ventures, Polaris Venture Partners, Prospect Ventures, Harris & Harris Group, Lux Capital, Kodak, and Wasatch Advisors.[18]

Nanosys has developed a significant quantum dot patent portfolio with over 320 issued and pending patents worldwide.[1] These patents cover the fundamentals of quantum dot construction as well as component and manufacturing designs. This portfolio is the result of collaborations between Nanosys and universities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Hebrew University, as well as industry collaborations with companies including Philips-Lumileds and Life Technologies.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Nanosys: Who We Are". Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  2. ^ "The Economist: Dotting The Eyes, How tiny crystals can improve picture quality". June 16, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  3. ^ "Nanosys Unlocks Full Color LCD Viewing Experience with Nanotechnology- Announcing QDEF". May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  4. ^ "FastCompany: New Gadget Mantra: The Screen's The Thing". May 18, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  5. ^ "Kindle Fire Incredibly Innovative: First tablet display to use super high tech quantum dots". Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  6. ^ "Adopts 3M™ Color Enhancing Technology for ASUS ZENBOOK NX500 Notebook PC". Archived from ASUS the original Check |url= value (help) on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-06-10.
  7. ^ Tekla Perry: CES 2015 - Placing the Bets on the New TV Technologies. IEEE Spectrum, January 7, 2015. Retrieved January 12, 2015
  8. ^ "Nanosys Completes Commercial Agreement with LGIT for its Quantum Rail™ Lighting Products". January 21, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  9. ^ "Nanosys and LG Innotek agree deal for newfangled LED-backlit displays". January 22, 2010. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  10. ^ "SID Announces 2017 Display Industry Award Winners; Honorees Reflect The State Of The Art In Display Technology". May 16, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  11. ^ "Display Week 2015 Review". September 2015. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  12. ^ "SID Awards Page". June 10, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  13. ^ "Nanosys QDEF Wins Display Component of the Year at SID". June 9, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014.
  14. ^ Nanosys QDEF Wins Display Component of the Year at SID | Nanosys. Retrieved on 2013-09-05.
  15. ^ "SID Award Announcement Press Release". May 18, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  16. ^ Duan, Mary (December 3, 2010). "Blood Clotting Technology Could Be Lifesaver". Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  17. ^ Leger, John M. (September 27, 2010). "WSJ Tech Innovation Awards". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2011.
  18. ^ "Nanosys Closes Second Round of Series E Financing On Path to Commercialize Architected Materials for LCD and Battery Markets". October 26, 2010. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved July 14, 2011.

External links[edit]