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Proceedings Paper • Open Access

Merging quantum dots, biomolecules, and polymers for record performance from solution-processed optoelectronics
Author(s): Edward H. Sargent

Paper Abstract

We apply discoveries in nanoscience towards applications relevant to health, environment, security, and connectedness. A materials fundamental to our research is the quantum dot. Each quantum dot is a particle of semiconductor only a few nanometers in diameter. These semiconductor nanoparticles confine electrons to within their characteristic wavelength. Thus, just as changing the length of a guitar string changes the frequency of sound produced, so too does changing the size of a quantum dot alter the frequency - hence energy - the electron can adopt. As a result, quantum dots are tunable matter (Fig. 2). We work with colloidal quantum dots, nanoparticles produced in, and processed from, solution. They can be coated onto nearly anything - a semiconductor substrate, a window, a wall, fabric. Compared to epitaxially-grown semiconductors used to make optical detectors, lasers, and modulators, they are cheap, safe to work with, and easy to produce. Much of our work with quantum dots involves infrared light - its measurement, production, modulation, and harnessing. While there exists an abundance of work in colloidal quantum dots active in the visible, there are fewer results in the infrared. The wavelengths between 1000 and 2000 nm are nonetheless of great practical importance: half of the sun's power reaching the earth lies in this wavelength range; 'biological windows' in which tissue is relatively transparent and does not emit background light (autofluorescence) exist in the infrared; fiber-optic networks operate at 1.3 and 1.5 um.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 February 2006
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 6117, Organic Photonic Materials and Devices VIII, 611702 (23 February 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.660419
Show Author Affiliations
Edward H. Sargent, Univ. of Toronto (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6117:
Organic Photonic Materials and Devices VIII
James G. Grote; Francois Kajzar; Nakjoong Kim, Editor(s)

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