Your Printer Is Finally Useful, Thanks To Quantum Dots

Senior Contributor

Quantum dots are amazing things. They’re going to bring more casual nudity into your life, just for example. But they’re also about to make your life better in many other ways that don’t involve nudity, but do involve printing gigantic lasers.

OK, so “printing” here isn’t quite the same as feeding that turkey from Staples some 8″ by 11.5″, but it’s still pretty neat. Just for a quick review, a quantum dot is a nanocrystal whose properties of conduction depend on its size and shape. They’re also really easy to, say, suspend in liquid, creating “inks” that can conduct energy. So if you print these inks onto, say, a glass panel with nanometers-long grooves and hit it with light, the light will actually bounce around the glass and off the quantum dots, exciting the dots to the point where they emit their own light. Basically, strap one of these things to a flashlight and you’ve got…well, a really big laser pointer, but you can pretend it’s a phaser.

It’s early days, but this tech can be applied to TV manufacture, solar panels, and all sorts of other important uses. But mostly we just want the gigantic laser.

[ via NextBigFuture ]

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