Quantum mechanics is a field of physics which has grown to the best and still growing endlessly from its first proposal by Niels Bohr and Max plank. It has influenced greatly the way humanity approaches the advancement in each and every field including technology. Now this quantum theory has birthed a new contrivance called Quantum dots and there is no doubt that they are going to show substantial influence on our near future.
The quantum dots are very small particles of a few nanometers size. But their properties vary from the larger particles due to quantum mechanics. Even though size is the main criteria for quantum dot’s exceptional behaviour, their shape, structure and composition also play a major role. They act like artificial atom showing similar electronic wavefunctions to atoms, and artificial molecules can be prepared from them, exhibiting hybridization. Alexander Efros was first to theorize the quantum dots. And then Alexei Ekimov first time produced a quantum dot. Now quantum dots of different materials are produced for the different purposes of research and technologies.
What makes us to call quantum dot the near future? From their first synthesis to today quantum dots have shown immense application throughout the varying science fields. Quantum dots are used in biological imaging and labelling of live cells as they can be injected into the cells and can be attached to biomolecules. Quantum dots conjugated to immunoglobulin G and streptavidin are used as label to malignant cells of breast cancer. Cells can easily engulf these quantum dots. And their capacity to show symmetrical emission, broad excitation and ability to be excited in single excitation make them a potential replacement to organic label dyes.
They can be used as absorbing photovoltaic material. Quantum dots produce multiple excitons from a single photon compared to today’s solar cells which produce only one. So bulk materials like silicon can be replaced by these materials. Hence QDs promise to extract more energy per photon and also require less space. Thermodynamic calculations by National renewable energy laboratory in Colorado, United states has shown that solar cells developed by quantum dots operating under concentrated sunlight have theoretical conversion efficiency of 66% compared to 31% of present-day solar cells.
There is one more interesting thing. In an article by NCBI headed QUANTUM DOTS AS A PROMISING AGENT TO COMBAT COVID-19 says Carbon based quantum dots could be used to disable S protein of SARS COV-2. And quantum dots incorporated with suitable functional groups interacts with the entry receptors of the virus and affects genomic replication. These things can turn into potential solutions to the pandemic.
Apart from all these, quantum dots find real and potential applications in single electron transistors, lasers, LEDs, microscopy and many other things. They are more promising, efficient compared to the conventional ones. Their application in technologies like quantum computing are signs to hope for a revolution. All these technologies are half the way and can surely become our present very soon.