- R&D 100 Awards
Biomanufacturing is a novel platform for the synthesis of advanced quantum dot (QD) materials. QD materials are light-emitting or semiconducting nanoparticle materials whose physical dimensions affect the band gap of the semiconducting material. The ORNL platform is scalable, cost effective and provides control of particle size and composition. It can produce incredibly complex Biomanufactured Quantum Dots by carefully controlling the composition and concentration of the feedstock solution within a given range for acidity and chemical redox potential. In recent years, environmentally-friendly and earth-abundant alternative materials have been sought for thin film-based devices including light-emitting screens or displays, sensors and solar panels. ZnS is a less toxic alternative to CdS that is used in buffer layers of photovoltaic cells. The initial application for ZnS QDs produced via biomanufacturing uses their specific electro-optical properties as light-emitting materials. When ZnS is produced in nano-dimensions, quantum confinement effects make the band gap energy of the material dependent only upon the particle size. Since biomanufacturing can control the QD diameter precisely, it is possible to produce a wide range of specifically tuned semiconducting nanomaterials, making them very attractive for a variety of applications including electronics, displays, solar cells, computer memory, energy storage, printed electronics and bioimaging.