Graphene, the wonder material, is strong, light, non-toxic and conductive. Commercial applications of graphene are now rolling out to grace many sectors including the medical sector.
Australian company Dotz Nano has announced the shipment of graphene quantum dots or GQDs for commercial use. The company's high-tech material, GQD, is aiming wider applications in many segments — imaging, bio-medical, electronic, and optical brightener markets thanks to its property of being able to illuminate colors.
"We've managed to revolutionize the nanotechnology industry by introducing a material that utilizes natural resources in a cost-effective manner," noted Moti Gross, CEO of Dotz Nano.
GQD Innovates Metallic Quantum Dots
The company follows a strategy of low-cost extraction of graphene to make quantum dots unlike the expensive process in producing metallic quantum dots. It was originally developed by a team led by Professor James Tour of Rice University.
Dotz Nano is aiming to make GQDs a mass product with expanded use in research and commercial segments.
Cancer Treatment With Blood Brain Barrier
One important application of GQDs will be bio-imaging, in which GQDs will be administered to patients to track down cancer in the body and target drug delivery.
Gross said GQDs are capable of transposing the blood-brain barrier and are good for attacking different types of brain cancers.
"Bio-imaging is important because with GQDs we can effectively replace some of the isotopes and radioactive materials that are being used," said Gross.
Graphene Dots vs. Metallic Dots
Quantum dots have been in news thanks to electronics manufacturers and solar cell makers. As tiny semiconducting crystals, they are made of metals like cadmium selenide and absorb invisible light to emit visible light.
"A quantum dot is basically a micro-sized disc that absorbs UV light, releases it in the visible light spectrum, and we can change the color that's seen in the visible light spectrum according to the size of the dot," explains Gross.
There are many merits that GQDs enjoy, as compared with metallic quantum dots. The latter is hard to produce because of the energy-intensive process involved and the presence of cadmium as a toxic material.
However, these problems are off when graphene is used. Gross claimed that GQDs have excellent attributes that are lacking in metallic dots such as better electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and super strength.
GQDs are not toxic and have a high yield in production.
The color advantage is superb. While GQDs maintain the blue color, metallic quantum dots are not able to sustain the color, which poses challenges in manufacturing them.
Dotz Nano has an R&D pact with the Tour Lab Group at Rice University to help Dotz Nano with the latest know-how on products and applications.
The company is ramping up production of its GQDs to serve many market segments. The dots will be sold as a raw material for researchers and will be licensed and supplied to companies looking for use in dyes, detergents, electronics and other purposes.