Friday, October 21, 2005

Quantum Dots Have Bright Future

Chemists at Vanderbilt University discovered a way to make quantum dots spontaneously produce broad-spectrum white light. The report of their discovery, which happened by accident, appears in the communication “White-light Emission from Magic-Sized Cadmium Selenide Nanocrystals” published online October 18 by the Journal of the American Chemical Society

One difference between the Vanderbilt approach and the others is the process they used to make the quantum dots, Bowers observes. The other groups use synthesis methods that take between a week and a month to complete; whereas, the Vanderbilt method takes less than an hour.

The light bulb is made out of metal and glass using primarily mechanical processes. Current LEDs are made using semiconductor manufacturing techniques developed in the last 50 years. But, if the quantum dot approach pans out, it could transform lighting production into a primarily chemical process. Such a fundamental change could open up a wide range of new possibilities, such as making almost any object into a light source by coating it with luminescent paint capable of producing light in a rainbow of different shades, including white.

Vanderbilt News Service:


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