Quantum dots are a class of "nanocrystals" with a very small diameter of often only one or a few nanometers. Because of their special properties, they are used in optical or electronic applications, e.g. in photovoltaics for solar cells. Quantum dots are also being tested in the medical field, as the tiny particles are able to visualise tumours in tissue, for example, through their optical properties.

 

QLED TV © Sergey Ilin / fotolia.comHow could I get in touch with it?

At present, the consumer hardly comes into contact with quantum dots, as they are of the greatest importance for research. Their use in everyday products is limited to QLED TVs and displays from a few manufacturers. Because the quantum dots are inside the electronic device the consumer does not come into direct contact with quantum dots.

 

Is there any risk from this material to humans and the environment?

Since consumers do not come into contact with quantum dots, the following applies only to employees of research laboratories: When quantum dots are swallowed, the stomach acid often peels off the coating of the particles so that the inner material is exposed. Quantum dots are only absorbed through the skin if it has already been damaged. There the particles can also cause inflammation. After absorption into the body, the quantum dots accumulate in the liver and spleen as is usual for comparable particulate materials. As they are relatively stable, they can remain in the organs for a long time. All studies on the uptake, distribution and passage through the blood-brain barrier were carried out with animals, mostly after intravenous administration, which is why they have only limited significance for a risk to humans in normal life.

 

Conclusion

Quantum dots are of great scientific interest, but are currently only used sporadically in consumer-related products. Since they may also contain toxic elements such as cadmium, their use in humans will be limited in the future.

 

 

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