Heavy metal-free quantum dots (QDs) that power exciting consumer technologies could soon be available at scale after UK-headquartered nanomaterials developer Quantum Science secured a government funding award.
The Innovate UK Launchpad programme has awarded Quantum Science funding to develop methods for upscaling its production of cutting-edge lead-free QD inks.
The scale-up project, which will run from March to August this year, will focus on synthesis processes for Quantum Science’s lead-free INFIQ® QD solutions, which it expects to hit markets within the next two to three years.
Quantum Science lead-free QD inks will be upscaled using technologically advanced manufacturing methods, which help reduce carbon, increase resource efficiency, support resilient supply chains and create high-value production.
QDs are tiny nanocrystals that absorb or emit different coloured light when excited by heat or light, including invisible light across the infrared (IR) spectrum.
To date, shortwave infrared (SWIR) lead-free QDs are not accessible to consumer applications, but Quantum Science has overcome synthetic challenges to make high performance SWIR lead-free QDs available for the industry. As a result, advances in SWIR lead-free QDs will enable the development of infrared sensing for consumer and automotive applications in everything from 3D sensing to vision enhancement and long-range sensing.
Dr Hao Pang, CEO and Founder of Quantum Science, said: “With infrared light sensing key to so many industries, high-performance lead-free QDs will open exciting new avenues for commercial technology.
“From the sensors and vision-enhanced cameras in autonomous vehicles to truly amazing 3D sensing mobile devices, our INFIQ® lead-free QDs have the power to revolutionise what is possible in the world of infrared sensing.
“Thanks to this funding from Innovate UK, we will be able to kick our development of lead-free QDs into high gear. After expanding into our new laboratory earlier this year, we have increased our production capacity and are now able to take the next step in our journey to produce this world-changing technology at scale.”
The Liverpool City region is one of two areas in the UK piloting the Innovate UK Launchpad Programme, which aims to drive innovation by encouraging growth in the region’s manufacturing sector.