UbiQD, a New Mexico-based quantum dot manufacturer, has achieved greater than 80 percent quantum yield, or optical efficiency, for its quantum dots over a broad spectrum from the visible to the near infra-red (550 nm to 1000 nm peak emission).
For some colours between orange (600 nm) and deep red (800 nm), the company manufactured optimised quantum dots with near 100 percent quantum yield. With this milestone, UbiQD's materials now have the highest reported photon conversion efficiency for quantum dots that do not contain cadmium, an element known for its toxicity and which is widely used by many quantum dot manufacturers. At the same time, the new quantum yield reported by the company is also comparable to the best cadmium-containing nanomaterials that currently exist.
"We pride ourselves in being leading authorities on characterizing the optical performance of nanomaterials, and are very confident in these results," said Matt Bergren, VP of UbiQD. He says that the company has independently verified the results with several third parties, including accredited research institutions such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The benefit of high quantum yield positively impacts all quantum dot applications including lighting, displays, security, biotechnology, and design. While there are many potential markets for UbiQD's patented technology, the company's primary focus is enabling windows to generate electricity using products known as ‘luminescent solar concentrators’.
In July 2016, the US National Science Foundation awarded UbiQD a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop luminescent solar concentrating glass windows incorporating its near-infrared quantum dots. As part of the expanded effort, Nikolay Makarov joined UbiQD in late 2016 after a postdoc at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the Physical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Group.
"This cadmium-free quantum dot efficiency milestone takes us one step closer to achieving our vision of powering cities with ubiquitous quantum dot window tints," said Hunter McDaniel, founder and CEO of UbiQD. "Coupled with our low-toxicity solution and superior stability compared to other cadmium-free quantum dot materials, we offer a compelling value proposition and fast return on investment."
UbiQD has recently been testing prototype luminescent solar concentrator windows on the square foot scale using its glass quantum dot composites and has plans to start pilot projects to validate the technology in the marketplace later this year.