Fabs could look rather different in the future after researchers at King’s College London have pioneered a whole new approach to making semiconductors.
The King’s College scientists have found a way to make worms excrete quantum dots.
Researchers fed ordinary red earthworms with soil containing metals. Worms can detoxify their body tissue and they separate the metal from attached organic molecules and excrete them.
When the researchers put cadmium chloride and sodium tellurite in the soil eaten by the worms, the worms created nanometre diameter-sized dots of cadmium telluride – a semiconducting crystalline compound. The cadmium telluride (CdTe) dots glow green when exposed to blue light. A likely application would be in medical imaging.
“We didn’t expect it to work that easily,” says Mark Green, Reader in Nanotechnology at King’s College.
Quantum CdTe dots are used in the production of thin-film photovoltaics.