Team from U of T, KAUST and Penn State develop most efficient colloidal quantum dot solar cell yet

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email

 

It’s being called the most efficient colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solar cell ever and a team of international researchers is being praised for the new development. Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T), King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) and Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) have created the new CQD solar cell based off the need for a design that compacts quantum dots together so that less distance between the quantum dots equals a higher efficiency.

“We figured out how to shrink the wrappers that encapsulate quantum dots down to the smallest imaginable size – a mere layer of atoms,” states Professor Ted Sargent, corresponding author on the work and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology at U of T.

The team found that up until their discovery, quantum dots had been capped with organic molecules that separated the nanoparticles by a nanometer, which on a nanoscale, creates a large distance for electrons to travel. The researcher’s solution was to use inorganic ligands, sub-nanometer-sized atoms, which bind to the surfaces of the quantum dots and use less space.

“Our team at Penn State proved that we could remove charge traps – locations where electrons get stuck – while still packing the quantum dots closely together,” says ProfessorJohn Asbury of Penn State, a co-author of the work.

The close quarters and charge trap elimination allowed for electrons to quickly and smoothly move through the solar cells and create the record efficiency. “We wrapped a single layer of atoms around each particle. This allowed us to pack well-passivated quantum dots into a dense solid,” explains Dr. Jiang Tang, the first author of the paper who conducted the research while a post-doctoral fellow in The Edward S. Rogers Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at U of T.

The performance results were certified by Newport, an external laboratory, which is accredited by the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Newport found that the quantum dots had the highest electrical currents and the highest overall power conversion efficiency realized in CQD solar cells to date.

“It is very impressive that the team was able to make solar cells with power conversion efficiency up to 6% from quantum dots,” states Professor Michael McGehee of Stanford University, a world-renowned expert in solution-processed organic solar cells. “There is a lot of surface area in these films that could have dangling bonds which would hinder the performance of solar cells by creating traps states.

“At KAUST, we used visualization methods with sub-nanometer resolution and accuracy to investigate the structure and composition of the passivated quantum dots,” states co-author Professor Aram Amassian of KAUST in Saudi Arabia. “We proved that the inorganic passivants were tightly correlated with the location of the quantum dots and that it was the chemical passivation, rather than nanocrystal ordering, that led to the remarkable colloidal quantum dot solar cell performance,” he adds.

The team’s research discovery has prompted U of T and KAUST to sign a technology licensing agreement as they foresee great potential for their research. The licensing is aimed at permitting the global commercialization of the new technology.

“This work proves the power of inorganic ligands in building practical devices,” states Professor Dmitri Talapin of The University of Chicago, a pioneer in inorganic ligands and materials chemistry. “This new surface chemistry provides the path toward both efficient and stable quantum dot solar cells. It should also impact other electronic and optoelectronic devices that utilize colloidal nanocrystals. Advantages of the all-inorganic approach include vastly improved electronic transport and a path to long-term stability.”

22 September 2021
To commemorate the World Energy Storage Day(WESD) on 22 September, being recognized worldwide, Customized Energy Solutions (CES) and India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) is organising the 5th global conference and virtual expo, which will be held virtually on 22 September 2021. WESD is a global movement initiated by various apex trade bodies working to promote and adopt energy storage, e-mobility & green hydrogen technologies for a sustainable future. The forthcoming edition of WESD is expected to attract global participation with an intent to facilitate bi-lateral trade, market development and new research and innovation, which will invite 100+ countries, 100+ regulators & policy makers, 100+ International speakers,1000+ organisations, 100+ partners & exhibitors and 20,000+ global delegates.
28 September 2021
Solar Solutions International is the largest trade show for solar energy in Northwest Europe. Now the solar market has grown up, it's time for the next step. Solar Solutions International displays more than 500 innovations and over 100 practical seminars concerning the latest in energy storage, smart products, and an ever evolving array of solar panels. As an exclusively B2B trade show, Solar Solutions International offers both exhibitors and visitors the chance to network at the highest level. Duurzaam Verwarmd, the largest trade show for sustainable HVAC technology in the Benelux, is held simultaneously. This way your one visit gets you up to date with all of the developments in both sustainable energy and heating.
6 October 2021
Intersolar Europe is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry. It takes place as part of The smarter E Europe – the continent’s largest platform for the energy industry. Under the motto “Connecting solar business,” manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and project planners and developers from around the world meet in Munich every year to discuss the latest developments and trends, explore innovations firsthand and meet potential new customers.
6 October 2021
The future is bright for a new era of US solar and storage, and the 8th annual Solar & Storage Finance Summit will provide opportunities to discuss solutions to the industry’s challenges and provide a networking platform designed to bring together the top minds in the industry to do business. With a mix of high-level, informative presentations and panels, a stellar cast of speakers and audience members with deal-making capacity, the 2021 edition of the event will be a sell-out success.
18 October 2021
Intersolar South America, South America’s largest exhibition and conference for the solar industry, takes place at the Expo Center Norte in São Paulo, Brazil on October 18–20, 2021, and has a focus on the areas of photovoltaics, PV production and solar thermal technologies. At the accompanying Intersolar South America Conference, renowned experts shed light on hot topics in the solar industry.
19 October 2021
This year’s EV World Congress will hold a special role, not only as the first live EverythingEV event in over a year – a chance to renew your connections and re-engage with the EV sector face to face – but also as a chance to share insight and inspiration as world starts to look towards move on post COVID towards hitting ambitious decarbonisation goals in 2030 and beyond. As ever, we will be bringing world leading organisations, cities, and technology providers to the UK to inspire EV innovators, and delve into the challenges facing the sector as the UK looks to revolutionise road transport.

Read Next

September 17, 2021
BP, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) and Masdar have partnered up to develop low carbon hydrogen hubs and create decarbonised air travel corridors between the UK and UAE in a deal that will see “billions” of dollars of investment.
September 17, 2021
US utility company Dominion Energy Virginia has proposed 15 new energy projects totalling 1GW of power for the state, which Dominion Energy claimed was the largest group of projects to be submitted to the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC)
September 17, 2021
Renewables developer Ørsted has promoted Neil O'Donovan to CEO of its onshore business unit following the resignation of his predecessor in August.
September 17, 2021
A 58.5MW floating PV plant in Thailand, said to be the largest install of its kind in the country, has been connected to the grid, according to inverter and floating solutions supplier Sungrow.
PV Tech Premium
September 17, 2021
PV Tech spoke to investors and analysts about why Brazil is fast becoming an attractive market for solar investment.
September 16, 2021
Vistra Energy has welcomed the enactment of clean energy policies in Illinois which the power generation company said will support 300MW of solar and 150MW of battery storage to be built at nine of its coal plant sites. 

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Solar Media Events
October 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
October 19, 2021
BRISTOL, UK
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021