Two American scientists and a Russian have been awarded the 2023 Nobel prize in chemistry for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots, which helped drive a revolution in nanotechnology. which helped drive a revolution in nanotechnology.

The prize is shared equally between Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexey Ekimov

What are quantum dots?

The properties of any element depends on how many electrons it has. However, when matter is really tiny, of nano-dimensions, its properties depend on its size. The smaller a particle, the more its electrons are squeezed together, and that affects its properties. Such particles, whose size determines their behaviour, are called quantum dots.

What can quantum dots be used in?

• The luminous properties of quantum dots are utilised in computer and television screens based on QLED technology, where the Q stands for quantum dot.
• Similarly, quantum dots are used in some LED lamps to adjust the cold light of the diodes. The light can then become as energising as daylight or as calming as the warm glow from a dimmed bulb.
• The light from quantum dots can also be used in biochemistry and medicine. Biochemists attach quantum dots to biomolecules to map cells and organs.
Doctors have begun investigating the potential use of quantum dots to track tumour tissue in the body.

• Chemists instead use the catalytic properties of quantum dots to drive chemical reactions.