Apple eyes quantum dots for next phase of Retina display development

In four patent filings, the company envisions using quantum dots to sharpen colors and improve the image quality of its Retina display.

The Retina display, found in Apple's iPhones, iPads, iPod Touch, and MacBook Pro, might soon look a bit better, thanks to quantum dots.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on Thursday published four patent applications from Apple, noticed earlier by Patently Apple, on technology that would employ quantum dots to deliver better color accuracy in the company's Retina display.

Apple's patent applications get into the minutiae of quantum dots and how they work, but the gist of the technology is this: quantum dots are exceedingly small nanocrystals with the ability to (among other things) emit light at very specific wavelengths, which effectively means color can be displayed more efficiently and accurately.

In Apple's patent applications, Apple describes the technology through the framework of red, blue, and green color wavelengths. The company claims that a Retina display without quantum dots will be able to match color vibrancy and accuracy on blue, but falls short on green and red, tending to err towards yellow and orange. Quantum dots, however, follow the RGB wavelength, potentially creating improved color accuracy.

The technology is already being used in some mobile devices, including Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 7. CNET's Geoffrey Morrison also delved into how quantum dots are being used in next-gen televisions.

As with other patent filings, it's not clear whether any of these technologies will make their way to Apple products. But at least one researcher is saying that Apple's display technology is in need of a boost.

As it's known to do, Apple isn't providing any information itself.

(Via Patently Apple)

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.



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