What are Quantum Dots (QDs)?

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The 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was recently awarded to Moungi G. Bawendi, Louis E. Brus, and Alexei I. Ekimov recently for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.

About Quantum Dots (QDs):

  • Quantum dots, often referred to as "artificial atoms," are semiconductor nanoparticles that have unique optical and electronic properties due to their small size.
  • They were first theorized in the 1970s and then successfully synthesized in the early 1980s.
  • Many semiconductor substances can be used as QDs, such as cadmium selenide, cadmium sulfide, or indium arsenide. Nanoparticles of these, or any other semiconductor substance, have the properties of a QD.
  • The size and composition of the QDs can be controlled during synthesis, allowing scientists to tailor their properties for various applications.
  • Optical Properties: One of the most notable features of QDs is their tunable emission properties.
    • By controlling the size of the QD, researchers can precisely tune the wavelength of light emitted or absorbed.
    • They can be engineered to emit light across the entire visible spectrum and into the infrared and ultraviolet ranges, offering a wide palette of colors for various applications.
    • The smallest quantum dots emit higher energy waves and produce blue light, and the biggest dots release lower energy waves, creating red light, with the middle sizes creating the colours in between.
  • Applications:
    • Displays: They are used in display technology to enhance the color and efficiency of displays for TVs, monitors, and other electronic devices.
      • Compared to organic luminescent materials used in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), QD-based materials have purer colors, a longer lifetime, lower manufacturing costs, and lower power consumption.
    • Photovoltaics: QDs can be used in solar cells to enhance light absorption and energy conversion efficiency.
    • Bio-medical applications: The small size of QDs allows them to go anywhere in the body, making them suitable for different bio-medical applications like medical imaging, biosensors, targeted drug delivery, etc.
    • Quantum Computing: QDs are being investigated for their potential role in quantum computing, as they can serve as qubits, the fundamental units of quantum information.


Q1) What is Quantum Computing?

Quantum computing is a rapidly-emerging technology that harnesses the laws of quantum mechanics to solve problems too complex for classical computers. Unlike classical computers, which use bits to represent information as 0s and 1s, quantum computers use quantum bits or qubits, which can exist in multiple states simultaneously due to a phenomenon called superposition. This unique property enables quantum computers to process and analyze vast amounts of information simultaneously, making them potentially much more powerful for certain types of problems.

Source: 2023 Chemistry Nobel Prize: What are quantum dots and what is the work that won the prize? | Explained