From Curtin University: “Tiny nanocrystals create ‘brighter’ future for TV viewers, study finds”

From Curtin University

8 July 2019

Lucien Wilkinson
Media Consultant
Supporting Humanities and Science and Engineering
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Yasmine Phillips
Media Relations Manager, Public Relations
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Curtin University researchers have discovered tiny ‘greener’ nanocrystals that can be manipulated to produce high-quality pictures and lighting in electronic devices such as televisions.

The research, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, found that the thickness of the tiny rectangular-shaped nanocrystals, called nanoplatelets, could be controlled with atomic precision, and can be used to improve the brightness and colour performance displayed on an LCD screen.

Lead researcher ARC DECRA Fellow Dr Guohua Jia, from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences and the Curtin Institute for Functional Molecules and Interfaces, said manufacturers were constantly searching for products with unprecedented picture quality given the high demand and competition in the electronics industry.

“A popular choice by consumers are quantum dot light emitting diodes (QLED) televisions, which use quantum dots to produce better brightness and a wider colour spectrum. The dots act like an activation layer when applied on a blue LED backlight, producing a more saturated and wider colour gamut,” Dr Jia said.

“Our research explored whether we could improve the picture and lighting quality in similar electronic devices by creating a new form of nanocrystal. We were able to create these by using a wet-chemical, ‘bottom-up’ method, in which chemicals in their ionic phase react in a solvent in the presence of organic ligands such as amine.

“Due to their unique shape and thickness, the nanocrystals produce colour that is much more pure. If they are used in electronic devices, they can greatly improve the lighting and picture quality by generating more vivid colours.”

Dr Jia explained that the rectangular-shaped nanocrystals were non-toxic and ‘greener’ in comparison to other nanocrystals commonly used in similar devices and do not contain heavy-metal compounds.

“The method that we invented can produce the nanocrystals in a large scale. This is valuable for industrial applications, as it can greatly improve the production of nanocrystals that can be used in electronic devices such as QLED televisions,” Dr Jia said.

“The collaboration between several research groups around the world including Professor Chunsen Li from Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and Dr Amit Sitt from Tel Aviv University in Israel, each with its unique capabilities and knowledge base, allowed us to tackle this unique problem both experimentally and theoretically, and may open the way for the development of new and exciting materials and technologies.

“This research also underpinned a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application, and our team is looking for commercial and development partners to progress the commercialisation of this important research outcome.”

The research was co-authored by researchers from the WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering at Curtin University, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), The University of Western Australia and Tel Aviv University, in Israel.

The research was funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (ARC DECRA).

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Curtin University (formerly known as Curtin University of Technology and Western Australian Institute of Technology) is an Australian public research university based in Bentley and Perth, Western Australia. The university is named after the 14th Prime Minister of Australia, John Curtin, and is the largest university in Western Australia, with over 58,000 students (as of 2016).

Curtin was conferred university status after legislation was passed by the Parliament of Western Australia in 1986. Since then, the university has been expanding its presence and has campuses in Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai and Mauritius. It has ties with 90 exchange universities in 20 countries. The University comprises five main faculties with over 95 specialists centres. The University formerly had a Sydney campus between 2005 & 2016. On 17 September 2015, Curtin University Council made a decision to close its Sydney campus by early 2017.

Curtin University is a member of Australian Technology Network (ATN), and is active in research in a range of academic and practical fields, including Resources and Energy (e.g., petroleum gas), Information and Communication, Health, Ageing and Well-being (Public Health), Communities and Changing Environments, Growth and Prosperity and Creative Writing.

It is the only Western Australian university to produce a PhD recipient of the AINSE gold medal, which is the highest recognition for PhD-level research excellence in Australia and New Zealand.

Curtin has become active in research and partnerships overseas, particularly in mainland China. It is involved in a number of business, management, and research projects, particularly in supercomputing, where the university participates in a tri-continental array with nodes in Perth, Beijing, and Edinburgh. Western Australia has become an important exporter of minerals, petroleum and natural gas. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Woodside-funded hydrocarbon research facility during his visit to Australia in 2005.