Sometimes, as we know, smaller can be better. Especially if you’re talking about dots. Quantum dots. Today, on Engineering Works!
Quantum dots sound pretty exotic, but they’ve been around for awhile. Quantum dots are nanoscale semiconductors. They’re so small you could line up a billion or so along a meter stick. What they do depends on their size and shape. Engineers are finding ways to use them for applications from quantum computing to medical imaging and optical displays. Using them for displays is especially interesting because their small size could give really bright, crisp images.
They have lots of promising applications, but engineers are finding that they’re difficult to deal with when you try to assemble them into large displays, like computer monitors or TV screens. Until now the most practical way to do this seems to be a process sort of like an ink-jet printer. The problem is that to spray them through an ink-jet means you have to put them into some sort of liquid carrier. And that carrier usually makes colors duller and images less sharp.
Now, engineers are trying an updated version of a centuries-old technology to print large displays. They’re stamping the displays, like an old ink stamp, using an etched silicon wafer for the stamp. It’s more complicated than it sounds, but the researchers think it’s going to work.
We’ve stamped our last image for today. See you next time.
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Start the discussion: The potential for some of these things – like quantum dots – is mind-boggling sometimes. What other applications for quantum dots might be on the way?