How Quantum Dots Could Make LEDs as Warm as Candlelight

I've had a nit to pick with LED lights and their sterile glow. But quantum dots—tiny crystals that emit a specific color—could be added to LEDs to alter their photonic output. Wee!


Gizmodo buddy Kate Greene interviewed QD Vision's Seth Coe Sullivan and the founder of the MIT spinoff explained the process as such:

The quantum dot lighting solution is relatively simple: Adding red quantum dots to a white LED makes the resulting white light appear warmer. Light from the LED gives electrons in the quantum dots an energetic boost for a short time; when the electrons return to their lower energy state, they emit a photon, a process called photoluminescence. (Photoluminescence is in contrast to electroluminescence, in which electric current, not light, excites electrons.)

Unlike filters, the method does not soak up light and hurt efficiency — they're taking "blue photons from the LED and outputting red photons from the quantum dots." QD Vision's tech got some press earlier in the year, but I hadn't noticed it before writing my ode to the classic lightbulb. And although the bulbs aren't out yet, they'll be $100 when they are. We'll have to take one for a spin when they come around. And if they work, and last as long as they say they should, I'm going to kiss the incandescent goodbye forever. [Kate Greene]

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