Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings New Haven & Middlesex Counties

Dots to Light Up Televisions and Tumors

Quantum dots

Tayfun Ruzgar from Getty Images/Science Photo Library/CanvaPro

The development of quantum dots has won the 2023 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for chemists Moungi Bawendi and Louis Brus, and physicist Alexei Ekimov. Quantum dots are a new class of nanoparticles roughly a few billionths of a meter across that have significant implications.

They are illuminated by light, which energizes the electrons within them. These energized electrons subsequently release energy as fluorescent light, with smaller dots appearing blue and larger dots appearing red. By using different materials or adjusting the size of quantum dots, chemists can alter their properties.   

Ekimov and Brus independently demonstrated the ability to precisely control the size of these nanoparticles, and Bawendi developed a method to precisely control their growth. These breakthroughs have opened up potential applications for various fields, including medicine and technology. For example, quantum dots could be used to improve the efficiency of LED lights and help surgeons identify tumors by injecting fluorescent dots into the body. The dots also have potential applications in solar cells and quantum computers.