Spire Corp. has been awarded U.S. Patent No. 7,306,963, titled ‘Precision Synthesis of Quantum Dot Nanostructures for Fluorescent and Optoelectronic Devices.’ This patent describes a method for designing and synthesizing quantum dot nanoparticles with improved uniformity and size.
These quantum dots, the company says, have the potential to create new high-efficiency, low-cost solar cells and other optoelectronic devices such as lasers, light emitting diodes and photodetectors.
‘Quantum dot technology represents an exciting field of research in solar energy today,’ says Roger G. Little, chairman and CEO of Spire. ‘Quantum dots have the potential to improve the efficiency of solar cells beyond levels currently available. The challenge has always been how to manufacture these small structures with the consistency needed to take advantage of their unique properties. Our scientists have conceived of a large-scale method that may allow the promise of this technology to be realized.’
Quantum dots are nanometer-sized (about one 25-millionth of an inch) semiconductor structures that, when exposed to light at predetermined wavelengths, can generate free electrons and create an electrical current. The confinement of electrons in these minute three-dimensional structures gives scientists the ability to use quantum dots to precisely control the optical properties of various devices, such as a solar cell.