Quantum dots certainly sound as if they should be something cool, but carry the hazardous baggage of being sometimes made from cadmium which can be dangerous. What are they? In essence, they are nanometer-scale particles, so small that when high energy light hits them, the photons will be absorbed and re-emitted at a lower energy state. You can easily make non-toxic quantum dots in your kitchen. Apart from the cool factor, they can be used as fluorescent dyes, inks, and possibly paints. [StrangelyAmusing] explains how in the video below.
You don’t need much in the way of equipment. A microwave oven, a Pyrex (borosilicate) container, and gloves. You’ll also need plastic pipettes and a blacklight — possibly the most exotic two items on the list. The ingredients are equally mundane: vinegar, baking soda, water, and sugar.
The vinegar allows the sugar to breakdown (or invert) faster and the baking soda neutralizes the vinegar once its done its job. You are left with fructose and glucose. Once the sugar solution is at the right pH, it remains a matter of heating it again to cause quantum dots to form. The dots will glow green under a blacklight.
According to [StrangelyAmusing] the whole process takes about ten minutes. Other than glowing, what can you do with them? We aren’t quite sure. Commercially, quantum dots have applications (or potential applications) in lasers, solar cells, light emission devices, and even biological markers. However, we don’t have any idea how you’d go from fluorescent sugar solution to any of those devices. If you figure it out, be sure to drop us a tip.