Quantum dots, tiny nanometre-sized particles, have some rather unique properties that we are only just starting to explore. “This particular innovation is so exciting partly because we’ve yet to see what exciting new developments it’ll lead to,” explains Professor Jim Al-Khalili. “Quantum dots are going to change the world. Everything from new types of smart materials, solar cells, medical imaging, to potentially building a quantum computer.”
Made of cadmium or zinc-based semiconducting materials, it is the small size of the dot (made up of about 50 atoms, just a few nanometres across) that leads to unusual quantum behaviours. Quantum dots have a range of practical applications including in clothing dyes, flat-screen displays and medical imaging.
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