What are INFIQ® quantum dots?
Quantum dots first entered the consumer electronics market almost a decade ago. Their ability to produce pin-sharp colour accuracy coupled with a wide colour gamut make them perfect for mass-market display technologies like TVs and computer monitors. However, this is just scratching the surface of the potential of quantum dots. Here at Quantum Science, we are tuning and refining the technology to create something altogether more exciting – INFIQ® quantum dots (INFIQ® QDs). INFIQ® QDs are set to usher in a new age of near infrared (NIR) and short wave infrared (SWIR) imaging to power future sensing technology across a range of sectors.
The science behind quantum dots
To understand why INFIQ® QDs are the next great leap forward in sensing technology, we must first explore how quantum dots work. Quantum dots are nanoscale (10−9 m) semiconductors capable of absorbing and emitting different wavelengths of light (or photons). The larger the size of the quantum dots, the lower the energy (and longer the wavelength) of photons that can be absorbed and detected. It is these longer wavelengths of light, encompassing visible red light into the invisible infrared spectrum,that we work with when developing INFIQ® QDs!
What can INFIQ® QDs be used for?
By directly controlling the size of the quantum dot nanocrystals made during synthesis, we can grow them to absorb very specific wavelengths of light – in the case of INFIQ® QDs, the materials can be tuned to cover entire Vis-NIR-SWIR range.
This versatility means INFIQ® QDs are a platform technology enabling the sensing of IR data for use in myriad applications.
IoT (Internet of Things) devices
Many smart devices rely on IR sensing and imaging to perform their function. By increasing the quality of IR data available to these devices using sensitive INFIQ® QDs, we can dramatically improve the accuracy, effectiveness, and user experience of devices, for example, SWIR-equipped proximity sensors allow new designs [underpanel] of mobile phones, pet-friendly automated vaccums, and energy-saving devices.
Self-driving cars illustrate one sector where technology has not quite caught up to our ambitions – until now. INFIQ® QDs offer a far superior range when compared to current NIR-only sensor arrays that are commonly used in LiDAR systems for automated vehicles. With SWIR-sensitive INFIQ® QDs, the self-driving cars of the future can safely navigate even in low light and thick fog.
INFIQ® QDs have the unique advantage of light absorption to enhance the ability of sensing technology to help consumers in the mobile phone market achieve a better consumer experience. An ever-expanding number of innovative applications such as facial recognition, augmented reality, distance measurements, and low light vision are entering the consumer and mobile market space.
Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality devices have all grown in viability in recent years. However, there are still limitations in the current eye tracking tech which means it can damage the eyes if worn for a prolonged period. The advanced sensing capabilities of INFIQ® QD technology mean they can be used for integral head tracking and eye tracking systems which avoid damaging the eye.
Machine vision is the key to the automated industries of the future. By using superior sensing and imaging technology like INFIQ® QDs, factories can use machines to scan fruit for bruises beneath the surface. They can peer through silicon wafers to check for microscopic defects, or identify the fill levels of opaque bottles.
Security and surveillance
INFIQ® QD absorbers allow for advanced night vision over a much longer range than traditional silicon sensors will allow. They can even be used to allow – emergency services to view incidents as they unfold in real-time, peering through smoke and rubble.
Hyperspectral imaging uses data from across the electromagnetic spectrum to allow us to peer beneath the surface of objects and even people. It offers incredible functionality for precision farming, medical imaging, and geology, to name just a few sectors. To use the example of farming, hyperspectral imaging can be used to identify stress and disease in plants before they present externally. It can tell us when fruit is the perfect ripeness, or if there are particular contaminants in the soil, allowing farms the means to significantly boost their crop yields.
How is this better than other sensors?
Currently, the only mass-produced sensing technology that is viable is CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor). CMOS is very cost-effective but, as a silicon-based device, has intrinsic limitations when it comes to SWIR sensing. SWIR wavelengths pass through silicon meaning that the sensors are effectively turned translucent under SWIR light, meaning only a small proportion of the information available is being detected. The only alternative is the InGaAs sensor, which can detect SWIR wavelengths. However, they are also several thousand times more expensive, which means they are not viable for mass-market adoption.
INFIQ® QDs answer the problems of both devices. They offer NIR and SWIR absorbancy like InGaAs without the prohibitive cost. For industries awaiting the reliable, versatile, sensitive sensing technology to power the next technological revolution,that wait is over. INFIQ® QD technology will soon be here, and it will tranform our lives in many ways in the future.
Notes to editors
About Quantum Science Ltd
QS is a leading British materials innovation company that focuses on developing and commercialising QDs, nanomaterials and technologies for the machine vision and sensing markets. QS teams are world-leading experts in QD synthesis and scale-up, nanocrystal and nanoparticle surface engineering, ink formulation, thin-film processing and QD semiconductor device engineering.
For more information on Quantum Science and its activities, please contact Quantum Science Ltd. Office S03, Techspace One, Sci-Tech Daresbury, Keckwick Lane, Daresbury, Warrington, WA4 4AB, United Kingdom
QS website: www.quantumscis.com
Tel: + 44 (0) 1925 807 980
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Tel: +44 (0) 1977 708643