Quantum Dot Formulations: From Electronics to Bio-Applications
Quantum dot formulations are gradually disrupting the way materials are implemented in a broad range of market sectors. Renowned for their photoactivity and unique optical properties, researchers and product developers have dedicated years of study to the application of quantum dots in industries ranging from next-generation consumer electronics to advanced bio-pharmaceuticals.
Recent breakthroughs in the generation of cadmium-free (Cd) quantum dots and complex nanoparticle formulations have propelled this research and development (R&D) forward, yielding tangible successes in various areas of study. In this blog post, Avantama will outline some of the potential applications of quantum dot formulations and will try to offer a realistic forecast of what to expect in these markets in the coming years.
What are Quantum Dot Formulations?
Firstly, it is worth defining what quantum dot formulations are before theorizing about their future applications.
Formulations are chemical mixtures or structures comprised of several components, often existing in different phases (solid, liquid, vapor, etc.). They are carefully designed to exhibit specific properties in transit, storage, or end-use conditions. Food emulsions, for example, are typically engineered to improve product thermodynamic stability and extend shelf-lives. Pharmaceutical formulations, meanwhile, are central to effective drug-delivery systems, from capsules to syrups. A quantum dot formulation is a heterogeneous mixture comprising nanosized semiconductor crystals dispersed in an appropriate solution (alcohols, butanol, etc.) or monomer mixture.
Quantum dots, or QDs, have been hindered by toxicity concerns and stability issues in the past. However, compositional doping of perovskite quantum dots with stabilizing elements has yielded extremely positive results when it comes to dispersion – which may pave the way for a greater diversity of quantum dot formulations and subsequently their deposition, or application, techniques. With that in mind, let us look at some of the existing and future markets for quantum dot formulations in more depth.
Bio-Applications of Quantum Dot Formulations
Quantum dots are envisaged as a unique solution for targeted delivery and therapy applications, owing to their unique luminescence and rich surface chemistries. According to research into the preparation of QD/drug formulations:
“QDs can be functionalized to target specific cells of tissues by conjugating them with targeting ligands. Recent advancement in making biocompatible QD formulations has made these nanocrystals suitable for in vivo applications.”
Exciting as this is, it is important to temper expectations as bio-conjugated quantum dot formulations must satisfy requirements with respect to stability and toxicity before QD bio-pharmaceuticals enter global markets.
Electronics and Quantum Dots
Quantum dot formulations have already had a profound impact on the consumer electronics sector, particularly in the generation of high dynamic range (HDR) displays with the widest possible color gamut (WCG) currently available. Read our previous blog post for more insights into How Quantum Dots are Changing the Display Market to learn more.
The innovative photo- and electroluminescence of quantum dots enables manufacturers to finely tailor their excitation properties to specific wavelengths, which may open the door for the cost-effective fabrication of multispectral photodetectors for various image capturing technologies. This could prove particularly ground-breaking in the manufacture of infrared devices.
Energy Applications of QDs
Solution-processed photovoltaics (PVs) are a critical development for improving the value proposition of solar cells and accelerating the production cycles to meet a growing global demand. Quantum dot formulations based on perovskite QDs are one of the leading contenders for high-efficiency multi-junction PV panels, with emerging solutions currently exceeding the previous benchmark of optical conversion efficiencies of 16%.
Quantum Dot Formulations from Avantama
Avantama is an industry leader in the generation of quantum dot formulations electronics and energy markets, from organic PVs (OPVs) to consumer displays. If you would like to learn more about our cadmium-free quantum dots or our formulation engineering capabilities, simply contact a member of the Avantama team today.
Ken-Tye Yong, Yucheng Wang, Indrajit Roy, Hu Rui, Mark T. Swihart, Wing-Cheung Law, Sang Kyu Kwak, Ling Ye, Jianwei Liu, Supriya D. Mahajan, and Jessica L. Reynolds. Preparation of Quantum Dot/Drug Nanoparticle Formulations for Traceable Targeted Delivery and Therapy. 2012 [NCBI]