Print your own lasers, lights and TV screens

July 2, 2010

Liquid inks based on quantum dots that can be used to print devices have been developed by Jacek Jasieniak and his colleagues at CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and the University of Padua.

A schematic of a quantum dot lasing device (Jacek Jasieniak)

Quantum dots are made of semiconductor material grown as nanometer-sized crystals. The laser color they produce can be selectively tuned by varying their size. To build a laser using quantum dots, they are placed within an optical cavity, which amplifies the light produced by the quantum dots to produce the laser.

A prototype quantum lasing device (Raffaella Signorini, Padova University)

“Conventional lasers use large optical cavities which make them impossible to use for printable lasers. To develop true nanometre-sized lasers we have employed a special type of optical cavity that consists of a repeating nano-structured pattern on the surface of the material onto which the quantum dots are printed. A major benefit of this nano-structured optical cavity is that it can be produced during the printing process by controlled indentation or scratching of the material’s surface,” Jacek says.

This research has implications for other technologies that use liquid inks to develop printable components, including thin-film solar cells.

More info: Fresh Science news