Researchers develop method to make quantum dot LEDs from recycled rice husks

Every year, rice cultivation (especially rice milling) generates about 100 million tons of waste. The inedible protective covering of actual rice grains, known as hulls or husks, can be used in a variety of ways, such as making cement, but there is much more demand for rice than for husks. rice.

Japanese scientists are tackling this problem by tackling another problem: the use of toxic heavy metals in the manufacture of LCD screens. You see, the production of modern liquid crystal displays using quantum dots requires the presence of materials like cadmium, lead and other heavy metals.

These can be toxic to humans and other life forms, so in a bit of genius, much like making synapses from honey, researchers at the Natural Science Center for Basic Research and Development from the University of Hiroshima have brought together two and two to find a way to make quantum dots from recycled rice husks.

A collection of figures demonstrating the source, the intermediate steps and the final result. Source: Hiroshima University

The shells are rich in silicon and silicon oxide. After processing them using a multi-step heat treatment, the researchers used chemical etching and an organic solvent to distill the shells into a liquid saturated with 3 nm crystalline particles of silicate, or…dots quantum.

Testing the dots revealed that they are able to produce tones in the orange-red area, depending on the duration of the etch time, but the researchers are not yet satisfied with the effectiveness of the final product, so more refinement of the process is needed. The team also says they want to explore other silicon-rich agricultural wastes, such as sugar cane, wheat or barley, because these can produce quantum dots with different characteristics.
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