Nanoparticle boost for LEDs and image sensors

Nanoparticle boost for LEDs and image sensors

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Researchers in Wales have developed a technique to use quantum dots to build custom structured nanoparticles.

The team at the University of Cardiff created a process for forming small, flat surfaces on nanoparticles to manipulate the quantum dots into a variety of shapes.

This nanofaceting process allows nanoparticles to be customised with complex shapes for different applications from optoelectronics and  energy harvesting to photonics and biomedical imaging.

“Quantum dots have the potential to revolutionise a number of industries because of the theoretically limitless efficiencies they offer. Our study is a significant step forward in the adoption of quantum dots technology across a wide range of energy and lighting industry applications,” said Dr Bo Hou, a Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy who led the study.

“With further development, we might imagine the truncated octahedra we manufactured being used for energy harvesting in solar cells, improving efficiencies beyond the capabilities of current technologies which sit at around 33%. Likewise, our nanocrystals might be used for biomedical imaging, where inefficiencies and instabilities are currently limiting their use in diagnoses and drug delivery,” he said.

“So, these technologies really are the future and for our work to play a part in accelerating their application is really exciting.”

The team grew the compound semiconductor nanocrystals in solvent and monitored their development in real time using computer simulations and powerful microscope technology.

“Growing the semiconductors in solvent was our preferred choice because of its low carbon footprint, potential for higher yield and economic benefits when compared to the high temperatures and vacuum conditions needed in traditional production,” said Hou.

“It also meant we were able to study the effect of solvent polarity on the shape of the nanocrystals, which could provide a means to stabilise polar surfaces with further research.”

The team is now developing image sensors and low-carbon footprint LEDs which will enable industry to implement the quantum dot nanoparticles into their technologies to boost the resolution and energy efficiency.


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