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Dr Richard Tilley working with silicon

Dr Richard Tilley works with silicon inside a sealed ‘glove box’. The glove box is filled with argon gas to make sure there is no oxygen present. If there was oxygen around, the semiconductor silicon (Si) would oxidise to silica (SiO2), a mineral with different properties.

Once the silicon quantum dots are made they are stable, but Richard needs to make sure there is no oxygen around when he does make them.