Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The dots changing the world

KAUST startup Quantum Solutions manufactures quantum dots—semiconducting nanoparticles—that are luminescent, with scientists able to tune the energy of their emitted light through controlling their size and composition.

​-By Tanya Petersen, KAUST News

You will never see one with your naked eye or through a conventional optical microscope, but quantum dots are changing the world. Thanks to their remarkable superpower properties, scientists think they will soon be used in everything from light bulbs to the imaging of cancer cells and in the design of next-generation ultra-efficient solar cells.

Miniscule in size, quantum dots are small semiconducting nanoparticles just several nanometers in length—or 10,000 times narrower than a strand of human hair. Each dot is a tiny man-made crystal, and one of their most intriguing properties is their luminescence. Quantum dots can absorb high energy—short wavelength—radiation in the form of light, or be electrically excited and, as a result, emit light at lower energy—that is, at a longer wavelength. The energy of the emitted light can be precisely tuned by controlling the quantum dot's size and composition.

Working in this sub-microscopic world is Quantum Solutions, a KAUST-incubated developer and manufacturer of quantum dot materials launched in 2017. The startup originated out of the KAUST Hikma Accelerator and has gone on to receive seed funding from KAUST's venture capital arm, the KAUST Innovation Fund.

As one the first manufacturers worldwide to commercialize perovskite quantum dots, the company's materials are used in different optoelectronic devices, including displays, photodetectors and solar cells.