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New Record in Colloidal Quantum Dot Solar Cell Efficiency

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 08:32AM

As with many technologies, there is an ongoing battle with photovoltaics between cost and quality. The most efficient technologies at the moment are also the hardest to produce and most expensive to acquire materials for. Other, far cheaper technologies are being developed but are not as efficient, yet. Now researchers at the University of Toronto and King Abdullah University of Science & technology have set a new efficiency record for one of these cheaper technologies.

Quantum dots are nanoparticles that are sometimes called designer atoms. By carefully constructing them, these particles can be given certain properties, including the frequencies of light they react to. Despite being such small and precise structures though, colloidal quantum dots (CQD) can be mass produced quite cheaply, almost like ink and paint. Previous CQD films for solar panels though have had limited performance due to electron traps on their surfaces, but the researchers removed these by exposing the particles to chlorine atoms just after being synthesized.

By patching the surface impurities that were trapping electrons and energy, the researchers' QCD film achieved 7% efficiency, more than a third better than the previous record. This record may not stand for long though as this research points to more ways to improve the efficiency of these cheap to produce solar cells.

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