Samsung fires $70m at quantum televisions

Acquisition of semiconducting nanoparticle outfit feeds into next-gen screen research

Samsung's beefing up one of the divisions that hasn't been burned by its Galaxy Note 7 disaster, acquiring a US company that specialises in quantum dots for displays.

Under its previous name Color IQ, the takeover target QD Vision was already licensing technology to TV makers like Philips, LG, Sony, and TCL Group in China.

“Quantum dots” are semiconductor nanoparticles whose behaviours are managed at the quantum level – for example, the properties of a quantum dot might change by adding a single electron to it. In the display business, they're currently used to improve the backlighting of LCD TVs.

In the longer term, its boosters hope quantum dots could replace other light sources in displays, making them a potential competitor to OLEDs.

CES in 2015 played host to some demonstrations of TVs with quantum dot enhancements, but it's still an immature market: South Korea's Yonhap news wire, which valued the deal at around US$70 million, notes that QD Vision will be folded into Samsung's R&D unit.

The acquisition is probably the best news Samsung can expect at the moment. As well as its Galaxy Note 7 debacle, the chaebol's found itself entangled in a widening corruption scandal in Seoul.

Choi Soon-sil, a confidant of South Korea's president Park Geun-hye, is being investigated over influence peddling.

Yonhap separately reported the company's Seoul headquarters had been raided, along with those of the country's largest pension fund, the National Pension Service, which last year approved an $8 billion merger between Samsung C&T Corp and textile company Cheil Industries. ®

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