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Creating Uniform Quantum Dots for Solar Power

Category: Science & Technology
Posted: 07:21AM

Order can be very useful, especially when trying to build things, but achieving it is not always easy. Quantum dots are nanoscopic crystals that have properties that would make them exceptional for solar panels, but making them the same size is somewhat difficult. At least it was as researchers at MIT have now found a way to make lead sulfide quantum dots of uniform size.

In the nanocrystals, the lead and sulfur atoms are roughly one-to-one, but the researchers found that it is best to start with a 24 to 1 mixture. This leads to the uniform size, which is useful for creating films of the quantum dots, as dots of the same size will self-assemble into an ordered lattice. Also better control of the size of the quantum dots can improve their performance, as the researchers found that the distance between the centers of the nanoparticles impact the amount of time electrons remain excited. The shorter the distance the greater the diffusion length, and that means more time to put the electron to use.

The researchers also found that while uniformity improves diffusion length, an amount of disorder can improve energy diffusion. Small variations in the quantum dots’ sizes can also cause energy variations, and higher energy electrons will try to move to areas of lower energy. This gets them going sooner than if the energy plane were flat, speeding up the process.

Source: MIT

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