Quantum Materials Corporation, which recently relocated its tetrapod quantum dot laboratories to San Marcos, an Austin, Texas, suburb, to take advantage of facilities at STAR Park (Science, Technology and Academic Research Park), notes that since 1950, “Kasha’s Rule 1,” a principle of photochemistry, held true that if a source of light excited a molecule enough, the molecule would fluoresce in a single color. However, in 2011, the Alivasatos group at DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, using tetrapod quantum dots, broke
Kasha’s rule by causing them to emit two separate colors instead of just one. This dual emission is possible because the tetrapod’s core and arms can separately emit at different wavelengths, and this discovery finds potential in many new advances in optics and nanobio applications.
Quantum Materials Corp. is delivering tetrapod quantum dots to a client studying dual emission effects in sensitive force sensing environments. Dual-emitting tetrapod QD sensors can measure very minute stresses such as those of a heartbeat by reading the changing variance of luminescence response emitted as the tetrapod quantum dots arms bend. Nano-probes of this type are poised to be a platform technology providing optical readout for many other biomechanical processes. This unique ability of the tetrapod quantum dot helps it to outshine the more common spherically shaped quantum dot.
QMC says in a release that its patented synthesis allows precise control of tetrapod quantum dot composition, size of QD core, length of arms, and arm thickness, and this ability to design the tetrapod characteristics allows optimization to control the tetrapod’s reaction to stress and thereby tune the light emissions for different applications.
QMC VP of R&D David Doderer notes: “We are proud to stand out as the singular company that can provide industrial-scale quantities of tetrapod quantum dots, customized to our client’s needs, with the uniformity and reliability necessary to feed the demands of large scale commercial operations.”
As noted, Quantum Materials Corporation has established new facilities at STAR Park in San Marcos. STAR Park is a non-profit incubator with roots from nearby Texas State University, the fifth largest university in Texas and one of eight Texas Emerging Research Universities. As an Emerging Research University, Texas State offers opportunities for discovery and innovation to faculty and students. The City of San Marcos, a community of 50,000 people located in the Texas Hill Country north of Austin, is known as the “Silicon Hills,” — so named for its proximity to technology related academic research, leading high-tech corporations and entrepreneurial start-ups.
QMC sees synergy with Texas State’s Advanced Functional Materials Laboratory’s interdisciplinary focus on nanoparticles and polymer nanocomposites developing. Quantum Materials’ President Mr. Stephen Squires is enthusiastic about the move, observing that “The facilities are state-of-the-art and Texas State faculty and the STAR Park Leadership continue to offer us opportunities to discuss collaborative projects from a well-connected home base. Indeed, so soon after coming to STAR Park, we are already determining scheduled visits from global companies that have indicated strong interest in discussing business opportunities.”
Mr Squires continues: “We find a unique combination of expertise in Texas State’s nanotech programs, STAR Park’s outstanding new facilities featuring state of the art equipment, and especially the opportunities for collaborative research that emphasize commercialization. We are excited to contribute to STAR Park’s attractiveness to innovative nanotech startups by invigorating the quantum dot and nanomaterials markets.”
Texas State’s Material Science, Engineering and Commercialization Doctoral Program exemplifies that institution’s powerful commitment to advancing nanotechnology “Research with Relevance” and parallels Quantum Materials’ own strategy to convert advanced quantum dot research into successful products. Texas State is creating a team environment for innovation by attracting internationally renowned faculty, encouraging cross-pollination across different scientific disciplines, and supporting STAR Park’s growth environment. “Quantum Materials is a great example of the kind of collaborative effort Texas State University is interested in creating through STAR Park. The firm will have access to experienced faculty and specialized facilities that will support joint R&D efforts. Texas State students will be engaged with technology commercialization through internships and work opportunities,” says STAR Park Executive Director Steve Frayser.
QMC considered many alternatives prior to selecting their San Marcos location, and the Greater San Marcos Partnership worked closely with Texas State University and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to secure QMC’s tenancy at STAR PArk.
“The Greater San Marcos Partnership is very pleased with Quantum Materials’ decision to locate their tetrapod quantum dot development laboratories in San Marcos at Texas State University’s STAR Park. They represent an expansion of the nanomaterials industry in our region with the potential for additional firms to locate here in the future creating new job opportunities. We look forward to continuing to work with Quantum Materials and help them to see tremendous growth and success,” says GSMP Chairman, Will Conley.
Quantum Materials Corp. (QMC) explains that Quantum dots refer to one of several promising materials niche sectors that recently have emerged from tremendous nanotechnology advances in chemistry and materials processing in the past two decades, and fall into the category of nanocrystals, which also includes quantum rods and nanowires.
As a materials subset, quantum dots are characterized by synthetic nanomaterials particles fabricated to the smallest of dimensions from only a few atoms and upwards. At these tiny dimensions, they behave according to the rules of quantum physics, which describe the behavior of atoms and sub atomic particles, in contrast to classical physics that describes the behavior of bulk materials. In other words, objects consisting of many atoms.
Quantum Dots measure near one billionth of an inch and are a non-traditional type of semiconductor that can be used as an enabling material across many industries that is unparalleled in versatility and flexible in form.
Quantum Materials Corporation (QMC) is now commercializing a low cost quantum dot technology of a superior quality and characteristics. This revolutionary new quantum dot production technique, developed by Dr. Michael S. Wong and colleagues at Houston’s William Marsh Rice University, has been acquired under an exclusive, world-wide license. QMC’s new synthesis method is mass producible using continuous flow technology processes developed in conjunction with Access2Flow microreactor technology. QMC’s research and development group was instrumental in developing the new scaling-up process.
Rice University Quantum Dot Synthesis
Dr. Wong’s Rice University lab invented a simplified synthesis using greener fluids in a moderate temperature process producing same-sized QD particles, in which more than 95 percent are tetrapods; where previously even in the best recipe less than 50 percent of the prepared particles were all same size and tetrapods. These highly efficient tetrapod QD are available across the entire light wavelength from UV to IR spectra and very narrow bandwidth is common. Selectivity of arm width and length is very high allowing different characteristics to be emphasized. Capping with shells and dyes adds desired properties. A custom mixture of quantum dots tuned to optimal wavelengths is easy to create, and projects will have the advantage of unprecedented flexibility and quantities for determining the optimal quantum dot without the time, expense and poor quality of batch synthesis methods.
Interested in Quantum Dots? Read all about them on our Quantum Dots Info Page.
Moreover, the Rice process uses much cheaper raw materials and fewer purification steps. A positively charged molecule called cetyltrimethylammonium bromide provides this dramatic improvement in tetrapod manufacture. This compound, found in some shampoos, also is 100 times cheaper than alkylphosphonic acids currently used and is far safer, further simplifying the manufacturing process. With the underlying theme of designing and engineering novel materials for catalytic and encapsulation applications, Dr. Wong’s research interests lie in the areas of nanostructured materials (e.g. nanoporous materials, nanoparticle-based hollow spheres, and quantum dots), heterogeneous catalysis, and bioengineering applications. He is particularly interested in developing new chemical approaches to assembling nanoparticles into functional macrostructures.
QD Nanotech Applications
Current and future applications of quantum dots impact a broad range of industrial markets. These include, for example, biology and biomedicine; computing and memory; electronics and displays; optoelectronic devices such as LEDs, lighting, and lasers; optical components used in telecommunications; and security applications such as covert identification tagging or biowarfare detection sensors. All of these markets can move from laboratory discovery to commercialization as QMC scales production of quantum dots to robust levels. They include:
IN VITRO analysis for cells and biological systems:
Quantum dots make improvements in the quality of marking in both brightness and time to study (hours instead of minutes).
IN VIVO selective tissue marking:
Quantum dots have been used for lymph node mapping and vascular and deep tissue imaging. This use has the potential to be much more significant for disease control and cure than any other current pharmacological technology.
QD Printing Applications
Quantum Materials Corporation has the exclusive worldwide license to proprietary quantum dot printing technologies developed by Dr. Ghassan Jabbour. This pioneering technology makes significant improvements over prior art.
Quantum Dot LED as well as nanoparticle LED/OLED based displays now have the potential to be manufactured using very high volume, low cost roll-to-roll print processing on inexpensive substrates, with potential to deliver a significantly lower price point combined with higher definition, increased viewing angles, lower power consumption, and reduced response time for enhanced display imaging in a very thin, light weight, format.
Tetrapod quantum dots and printing technologies can be printed and applied to certain lighting applications delivering high brightness, true color balance, long life and low energy consumption for highest efficiency. As global consumption of electricity in the world increases dramatically, energy efficiency through better electronics and lighting is a key to reducing the overall burden on power production and the expected increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
Thermoelectric devices are notoriously inefficient, and many researchers are working diligently on nanocomposite materials, such as quantum dots that artificially induce phonon scattering, thereby inhibiting heat transfer due to lattice vibrations while facilitating electron and hole conduction.
Photonics & Telecommunications:
Quantum dots open potential to develop optical switches, modulators, and other devices that rely upon nonlinear optics, with the aim of creating faster, cheaper, and more powerful optical telecommunication components.
Inks and paints incorporating quantum dots, nanoscale semiconductor particles, can be tuned to emit light at specific wavelengths in the visible and infrared portion of the spectra.
While currently marketing its tetrapod quantum dot technology to end users in the Printed Electronic, LED, and Solar markets, QMC is specifically focusing efforts on capturing a significant market share of the 2013 forecast estimated over $100MM by BCC Research for quantum dots in Bioscience applications. To accomplish this, QMC says it will demonstrate its tetrapod quantum dots’ superiority over standard spherical quantum dots to its diverse customer base.
MarketsandMarkets 2012 Quantum Dot Global Forecast predicts total QD sales of $7.48 Billion by 2022 in a wide range of QD applications. Quantum Materials believes that its provision of an accessible supply of quantum dots enables potential partners to now strategically develop commercially viable quantum dot products.
For more information, visit the Quantum Materials Corporation Premium Profile at BioNews Texas.