Researchers have developed a way to make Quantum Dot LEDs from rice

Mike Wheatley

Japanese scientists have proposed using rice as a substitute for key toxic ingredients that are commonly used to manufacture quantum dot LEDs in TVs.


So your next TV could be made of rice. Seriously.

As reported by Tom’s Hardware, the Japanese researchers led by Professor Ken-ichi Saitow of Hiroshima University have found that rice husks can be used to replace harmful substances that are currently used in the production of QLED LEDs. The development would not only mean less toxic substances being used in TV manufacturing, but also help to reduce food waste.

Rice husks, which are removed from rice before it’s eaten, can be used as a source of porous silicon (Si) and silicon oxide (Si02), which have a range of applications in the technology world.

Professor Saitow explained in an interview with Tech Xplore that "Since typical QDs often involve toxic material, such as cadmium, lead, or other heavy metals, environmental concerns have been frequently deliberated when using nanomaterials. Our proposed process and fabrication method for QDs minimizes these concerns."

The researchers have since come up with an experimental process that still needs perfecting. Highly simplified, the process involves taking the rice husks, burning off organic compounds, grinding and heating the leftover silica powder, using chemical etching to reduce the powder to 3nmn particles, then finally, using organic solvent to facilitate 3nm crystalline particle liquid that can be used in the manufacture of QLED LEDs.

The end product extracted from rice husks is not quite good enough to be used in commercial manufacturing yet, but the team say they’re looking to refine the luminescence efficiency and other complex issues, such as the light spectrum response of the silicon outside of the orange-red zone.

The research is anyway interesting given that TVs and monitors that use quantum dots typically achieve far higher brightness, greater contrast and longer life expectancy than OLED and non-QLED LCD displays.

The technology could have additional environmental benefits in reducing food waste. The Japanese researchers note that around 100 million tons of rice husk waste are produced globally each year. Additional research has shown that other kinds of agricultural waste could also be used to produce silicon, from crops including barley, wheat and even grass that’s rich in the element.