Quantum materials




Semiconductor nanoparticles
in the visible and NIR range


Synthesis development | Scale-up

Synthesis methods for
commercial scale and applications


Display | Lighting


Quantum materials as
custom engineered emitters


Sensor technology


Optoelectronic and
chemical sensor technology




Innovative product labels
verified with smart devices



Quantum materials as bio-markers



We offer semiconductor nanoparticles with intense fluorescence in the visible and NIR range. Thanks to many years of expertise, we are able to produce quantum dots customized for a wide range of applications. We ensure that the particles are available for commercialization even after R&D projects. A standard series based on Fraunhofer CAN technology is commercially available worldwide under the name CANdot.

What are CANdots?



  • inorganic core of semiconductor material determines emission wavelength
  • mostly inorganic shells increase stability
  • ligand shell of organic molecules influences dispersibility of nanoparticles


  • all three parts of the structure can be customized for your needs

CANdot Series A

  • CdSe-based particles
  • for visible range 

CANdot Series B

  • Cd-free particles
  • for visible range 

CANdot Series C

  • PbS-based particles
  • for NIR-range



Customized solutions | emission wavelength, stability, ligand shell for compatibility with desired process

Scale-Up |
synthesis process for QD, 
e.g. transfer to proprietary flow reactor technology (CANflow)

Characterization |
extensive characterization of quantum dots, including TEM, Quantum Yield, TGA

Standards |
development of quantum materials to meet standards, e.g. RoHS or EuPIA




  • display, illumination, color converter, qLED, polarized emitters (visible) 
  • sensor technology, e.g. color converter (NIR)
  • security features, e.g. uncloneable additive in ink formulations


Institute for Physical Chemistry of the University of Hamburg, in particular with the research group of Prof. Horst Weller


Wir  stellen sicher, dass die Partikel zur Kommerzialisierung auch im Anschluss an FuE-Projekte verfügbar sind.


Synthesis development and scale-up


For our customers we develop synthesis processes for quantum materials, in particular for quantum dots. We optimize established synthesis routes and scale them up for commercial applications.


Proprietary flow reactor technology for QD synthesis

  • full automation of the process
  • inline characterization for fast optimization
  • unique reproducibility
  • upscaling of throughput for industry-relevant production volumes
  • safety through automation and small reaction volumes
  • easy scale-up for fast market entry


  • absorption and emission spectroscopy
  • direct quantum yield measurements
  • fluorescence lifetime determination
  • thermogravimetry (TGA)
  • transmission electron microscopy (TEM)
  • dynamic / static light scattering
  • field flux fractionation (AF4)
  • elemental composition (Cd, Pb)



Customized solutions ǀ synthesis processes for improved production quality, incorporation of QDs into various formulations and matrix materials.


Scale-Up ǀ syntheses up to the kg range


Regulatory Adaptations ǀ development of standards-compliant quantum materials (RoHS, EuPIA)



Display and lighting


The quantum dots developed at Fraunhofer CAN are excellent emitters for displays and lighting concepts. Our one-dimensional quantum rods also expand the range of applications through polarized emission.

QD in color converters

  • emission based on photoluminescence: excitation of emission via absorption of short wavelength photons
  • synthesis of suitable quantum materials with emission bands in the visible spectral range
  • design of the ligand shell for customized dispersion behavior
  • incorporation of quantum materials into organic monomer as well as polymer matrices

QD in qLEDs

  • emission based on electroluminescence: excitation of the emission is achieved by injection of charge carriers
  • synthesis of suitable quantum materials with emission bands in the visible spectral range
  • photopatternable nanocomposites
  • modification of the ligand shell for effective charge transport 
  • construction of prototypical qLEDs (laboratory samples)


Customized solutions ǀ quantum materials as emitters

Broad applicability ǀ emission bands in the visible and NIR spectral range


Ligand modification ǀ design for the respective process


Structuring ǀ photopatternable nanocomposites, inks, photoresists


Embedding ǀ composites for polymer devices containing quantum materials


Analytics ǀ optical, microscopic  







Polarized emission

  • elongated quantum rods emit polarized light
  • parallel aligned quantum rod films enables fabrication of directly polarized emitting light sources

Color quality

  • high color quality due to narrow emission bands
  • tunable emission wavelength over visible and NIR range
  • particles optimized for green/red emission to ensure wide color space

Wir  stellen sicher, dass die Partikel zur Kommerzialisierung auch im Anschluss an FuE-Projekte verfügbar sind.


Sensor technology


Our nanoparticles offer great potential for applications in the field of sensor technology - from absorbers for photodetectors and emitters for optical spectroscopy to the functionalization of chemical sensors or the fabrication of chemiresistors. We synthesize tailor-made nanoparticle systems and develop prototype sensors.

Semiconductor nanoparticles

  • tunable optoelectronic properties by size quantization (spectral absorption/emission)
  • absorber (novel photodetectors)
  • emitter (light sources for sensors / photo- or electroluminescent operation / qLED)
  • various applications in the NIR range
  • ink-based deposition (spin-coating, ink-jet, etc.)

Metal nanoparticles


  • customized nanoparticles for functionalization of MOX sensors
  • metal nanoparticle composites for the fabrication of chemiresistors
  • adjustable selectivities
  • chemiresistors
  • ink-based deposition (spin-coating, ink-jet, etc.)



Nanoparticles for sensor technology | synthesis processes, characterization, scaling


Functionalization | nanoparticles, ligand shell design

Nanoparticle composites | formulations, optimization of deposition processes


Nanoparticle-based sensors | integration of nanoparticles and nanoparticle composites, prototypical optoelectronic and chemical sensors



Current projects

TUNARR  | Tunable Emitter Arrays for Miniaturized NIR Spectrometry

MISEL | QD-based photodiodes for neuromorphic imaging systems

FunkyNano | Metal Nanoparticles for Functionalization of Chemical MOx Sensors



  • miniaturized sensors for smart and IoT devices
  • medical diagnostics, e.g. breath analysis
  • smart farming
  • food analytics

Wir  stellen sicher, dass die Partikel zur Kommerzialisierung auch im Anschluss an FuE-Projekte verfügbar sind.


Product authentication


For applications such as product authentication or the safeguarding and tracing of supply chains, we use specially designed fluorescent quantum materials. We create cyber-physical systems that uniquely mark products and can be verified using smart devices.

Track & Trace


The demand for traceability of supply chains based on barcode solutions is growing steadily. Conventional barcodes are easy to copy, easy to forge and also dependent on databases.

We develop novel cyber-physical label systems for traceability and product authentication using smart devices.

Circular economy


The need for precise traceability in the circular economy is increasing.
A resource-saving recycling economy requires smart monitoring of material flows.

We develop cyber-physical systems for an intelligent and networked recycling process.



Customized label systems ǀ label with specific fluorescence characteristics


Ink development ǀ design of the ligand shell for incorporation into the desired ink formulation or matrix


Unique and secure product labeling



Label systems

  • security label: overt, covert, forensic
  • verification with smart devices
  • no fading, low costs
  • fluorescence: 400–2000 nm
  • lifespan: 10 ns–10 µs


Our solution for tamper-proof and resilient supply chains!

Wir  stellen sicher, dass die Partikel zur Kommerzialisierung auch im Anschluss an FuE-Projekte verfügbar sind.


Medical applications


We also use the unique properties of quantum dots - broad optical excitability, narrow emission bands and high stability - for medical applications. In the field of medical diagnostics, for example, we develop customer-specific bio-markers.

Phase transfer


  • making hydrophobic quantum dots compatible with aqueous systems
  • high stability due to crosslinked capsule shells
  • high reproducibility by microfluidic process control
  • possibility of coupling to capsules via functional groups of the polyethylene glycol shell.
  • optimized polymer shell to minimize non-specific interactions





  • absorption characteristics of quantum dots allow simultaneous excitation of different emission colors
  • narrow emission bands allow separation of individual signals
  • multiplexing within one color channel by varying fluorescence decay times is possible
  • excellent photostability of QDs allows high excitation intensities



Customized solutions ǀ quantum materials as emitters


Flexible detection range ǀ emission wavelengths in the VIS and NIR range (biological window)


Phase transfer ǀ transfer of hydrophobic quantum materials into aqueous media


Analytics ǀ characterization by optical spectroscopy, light scattering, field flux fractionation, and microscopy