Rice grain husks or husks still go into the trash at a rate of 100 million tons per year, but researchers have a new application for them: they’re turning them into quantum dot LEDs.
A quantum dot or quantum dot is a semiconducting crystal of a few nanometers in length. So sapphires are small and have some great optical and electronic properties. You’ll find it in light sources and flat screens, among other things. It’s not made from the most sustainable materials and these researchers wanted to do something about it.
It was inspired by porous silicone, a non-toxic material that was discovered in the 1950s. And let the rice grain husks be filled with silicon dioxide: the most common silicon compound. Yes, well, the chaff has to go through quite a few processes and produces (for now) only an orange-red light color, which could also be more effective, but they worked: the first quantum dot LEDs made from rice waste.
Now they want to try to do the same with barley and wheat waste, among other things, and of course: set up the process in a way that makes it really scalable and affordable.