Unleashing the 3D printing potential of next-generation quantum dot devices

In a recently published study Advanced functional materialsScientists from UNIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed a new method for 3D printing of room-temperature quantum dots (QDs). The method enables the development of complex 3D structures with precise light emission for advanced encryption and anti-counterfeiting applications.

Novel 3D printing method of quantum dots (QDs) at room temperature.
a) Schematic of the direct ink writing (DIW) method for luminescent PQD-polymer structures. Hydroxypropylcellulose (HPC) polymer was dissolved in DCM to prepare 3D printable ink. b) Optical image of the ink visible under 385 nm ultraviolet (UV) light. PQD-polymer ink shows red (R), green (G) and blue (B) emission colors corresponding to the halide ratio of CH3NH3Lead bromide1.5I1.5,CH3NH3Lead bromide3and CH3NH3Lead bromide1.5chlorine1.5. Scale bar is 5 mm. c) Schematic diagram of the synthesis of luminescent PQDs as colloidal dispersion solutions in toluene, including synthesis of PQD polymer ink using HPC. d) Optical image of the DIW process showing a pattern of continuous deposited lines on the glass substrate. Scale bar is 1 mm. e) Rheological properties describe the decrease in ink viscosity with increasing shear rate (shear thinning behavior). f) The solid ink transforms into a liquid fluid as a rheological function of shear stress. Image source: UNIST

The research, led by Professor Im Doo Jung from UNIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, introduces state-of-the-art perovskite quantum dot (PQD) additive manufacturing technology. This groundbreaking method eliminates the need for heat treatment and enables the manufacture of complex 3D shapes, such as famous structures such as the Eiffel Tower, with extremely high precision.

Traditionally, molding QD materials in three dimensions requires prolonged exposure to heat, leading to performance deterioration and shape deformation. Nonetheless, recently designed PQD materials exhibit superior luminescence efficiency and color adaptability, providing revolutionary solutions for cutting-edge encryption and anti-counterfeiting efforts.

Through careful optimization of printing parameters and the use of hydroxypropyl cellulose (HPC) polymer and dichloromethane (DCM) as volatile solvents, the research team achieved stable extrusion of luminescent PQD ink at room temperature. This groundbreaking 3D printing technology can create a variety of structures that emit red, green, and blue (RGB) colors based on primary colors.

The research proposes an advanced anti-counterfeiting and encryption system using 3D printed geometries that take advantage of the unique luminescent properties of PQDs. To demonstrate the capabilities of enhanced security features in contemporary printed electronics, a 6 × 5 cube architecture array was designed utilizing G and B emitting PQD-HPC for encryption to display letters (U, N, IS and T) at 90 degrees. interval.

Our simplified QD 3D printing process enables stable manufacturing at room temperature and promises advancements in information encryption systems and optoelectronic printing technology.

Hongryung Jean, study lead author, UNIST

Professor Jung emphasized the importance of this research for expanding the scope of quantum dot-based applications and strengthening anti-counterfeiting measures, saying: “This advancement preserves the photoluminescent properties of PQDs without the need for heat treatment, driving innovation in optoelectronics and energy applications”.

The research, funded by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) and other key institutions, establishes a new benchmark for encryption technology and anti-counterfeiting measures in the digital age.

Journal reference:

Quan, H., et al.. (2024). 3D printing of luminescent perovskite quantum dot polymer structures. Advanced functional materials. doi.org/10.1002/adfm.202400594.

Source: https://www.unist.ac.kr/

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