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Quantum Dots

Quantum dots are nanoparticles made from semiconductor material such as selenides or sulfides of metals like cadmium or zinc. They can emit distinct colors of visible light by absorbing a much broader frequency range. The emitted wavelength is directly related to the size of the crystal. Smaller particles appear bluer, and larger ones appear redder. Because of their unique optical properties, quantum dots have many interesting applications. These include medical imaging and labeling, enhanced LEDs, novel solar cells, and solid state quantum computation.

Our Project

Biological synthesis of quantum dots offers dramatic opportunities for directed assembly, detoxification, and fast integration into living systems. We aim to create engineered E. coli bacteria capable of nucleating quantum dots by expressing specific peptide sequences.

We will characterize the biologically synthesized dots, and hope to use them in several applications, including as a feedback mechanism and solid-state laser.

It is our hope that the contribution and characterization of quantum dot-forming peptides to the biobrick library will add an exciting tool to the synthetic biology arsenal.


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