Quantum dots boast a number of interesting physicochemical properties and applications in biomedical sensors and light-emitting diodes. But a limitation to wider use of the nanotechnology is the need for heavy and toxic metals like cadmium.
Microbrewery waste, by comparison, is readily available, non-toxic, and naturally has the nitrogen and phosphorus required for the process.
“The use of spent grain highlights both an eco-responsible approach to waste management and an alternative raw material for the synthesis of carbon quantum dots, from a circular economy perspective,” says Professor Federico Rosei.
The findings were published recently in the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal RSC Advances. The team will now work to advance beyond proof of concept and characterize the material.