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Displays Hardware Technology

Behind the Scenes At a Quantum Dot Factory 37

Tekla Perry writes: In a nondescript office complex in Milpitas, Calif., Nanosys is making enough quantum dots to populate 6 million 60-inch television screens annually. "The process goes on in what looks like a microbrewery. In about half a dozen large metal tanks ... Nanosys combines cadmium and selenium and adjusts the temperature, concentration, and catalysts added to force these precursors to combine into stable crystals of cadmium selenide. Then, by readjusting the conditions, the system stops the formation of crystals and triggers the beginning of crystal growth. A computer controls the process according to a programmed “recipe;” staff members monitor the growth of the crystals by shining light on them and measuring the wavelength of the fluorescence; the smallest crystals don’t fluoresce at all, then, as the crystals get larger, the wavelength changes. Nanosys stops the process when the fluoresced light hits the target wavelength, which varies depending on what particular display industry standard that the batch of film is designed to meet."
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Behind the Scenes At a Quantum Dot Factory

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  • by chinton ( 151403 ) <chinton001-slashdot.gmail@com> on Friday March 27, 2015 @03:05PM (#49356637) Journal
    Isn't that what got you into the secret room in Adventure?
    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      An expalanation of what a quantum dot is would have been nice.
      • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @03:17PM (#49356755) Homepage Journal
        They're like Quantum Crows, but are fruit-flavored instead of licorice.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Both cadmium and selenium are toxic. Cadmium has been considered as an environment pollutant

          I simply can't imagine someone setting up a factory which uses cadmium and selenium in an area described as a 'nondescript office complex'

          How do they get the green light from EPA in the first place?

          • by kanweg ( 771128 )

            "How do they get the green light from EPA in the first place?"

            By shining blue light on green quantum dots, I guess.

            Bert

      • by bws111 ( 1216812 )

        According to TFA, they are nanoscale semiconductor crystals that turn blue light into narrow-spectrum greens and reds.

      • by Livius ( 318358 )

        I believe the use of 'quantum' is to sound high-tech and futuristic. Except of course to anyone who knows even the rudiments of quantum theory.

  • by Y.A.A.P. ( 1252040 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @03:23PM (#49356801)

    I have been reading /. for far longer than my ID # indicates. IIRC, it was 1999 when I happened upon the site, I just didn't bother to join, because I never had anything useful to say. Back then it was "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters." Unfortunately, that guiding mantra no longer adorns the /. bannerhead and we are poorer for it.

    This submission is a perfect example of "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters." The summary doesn't tell you everything, you have to click through and read the article to get the true value of it. I read the article and it was very informative. I learned interesting information from it. It wasn't just interesting, I might actually use that information in the future.

    Thank you for perking up my day with interesting information and giving me hope that /. will continue to be a site to return to for quality information and news.

    • by Thud457 ( 234763 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @03:30PM (#49356839) Homepage Journal
      The button to Submit [slashdot.org] a story is right in front of your nose a the top of the page.
      Unless you're implying the editurs are idiots and ignore perfectly nerdulent story suggestions.
      • Unless you're implying the editurs are idiots

        No need to imply anything. That's already long-established fact.

      • The button to Submit [slashdot.org] a story is right in front of your nose a the top of the page.
        Unless you're implying the editurs are idiots and ignore perfectly nerdulent story suggestions.

        You are correct, sir, in that I have not done my part in keeping /. as it was, can, and should be. I implied nothing about the current editorial staff, nor did I wish to do so, regardless of my views on such matters in private. I would like to live up to my own perceived responsibilities as a member of the /. community. Based on my past history, however, that is unlikely to happen. I will, however, keep the thought of making such contributions closer to the fore, thanks to your comment. I can only hope

  • Anyone know what the maximum size of a quantum dot is?
    Could they make ones that emit microwaves, or even radio?

    • Re:How big is it? (Score:4, Informative)

      by inqrorken ( 3513049 ) on Friday March 27, 2015 @05:42PM (#49357903)
      A few tens of nanometers in diameter. Dots emit light at (more or less) a single frequency (it's actually Gaussian around the chosen frequency.) To emit that photon, the dot has to absorb a photon of higher energy. Since right now dots are absorbing visible, it's energetically possible to emit in microwave or radio frequencies. While I believe it's possible to do so, existing methods may be more efficient (energy-wise or cost-wise), or we may not have discovered dot materials that allow for those emission frequencies.
    • Short answer is no. Although there are plenty of other semiconductor devices that can operate in the microwave.

      The "quantum" part of quantum dots is that the effective bandgap of the semiconductor, which controls the wavelength of luminescence, is increased by quantum confinement. Google particle in a box for more information.

The flow chart is a most thoroughly oversold piece of program documentation. -- Frederick Brooks, "The Mythical Man Month"

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