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Nanocrystal solar cell

Nanocrystal solar cells or quantum dot solar cells, are solar cells based on a silicon substrate with a coating of nanocrystals.

While previous methods of quantum dot creation relied on expensive molecular beam epitaxy processes, fabrication using colloidal synthesis allows for a more cost-effective manufacture. A thin film of nanocrystals is obtained by a process known as “spin-coating”. This involves placing an amount of the quantum dot solution onto a flat substrate, which is then rotated very quickly. The solution spreads out uniformly, and the substrate is spun until the required thickness is achieved.

Quantum dot based photovoltaic cells based around dye-sensitised colloidal TiO2 films were investigated in 1991 [1] and were found to exhibit promising efficiency of converting incident light energy to electrical energy, and were found to be incredibly encouraging due to the low cost of materials in the search for more commercially viable/affordable renewable energy sources.

Although research is still in its infancy and is ongoing, in the future quantum dot based photovoltaics may offer advantages such as mechanical flexibility (quantum dot-polymer composite photovoltaics [2]) as well as low cost, clean power generation [3] and an efficiency of 65%.[4].

Recent research in experimenting with lead selenide (PbSe) semiconductor, as well as with cadmium telluride (CdTe), which has already been well established in the production of "classic" solar cells. Other materials are being researched as well. These materials are unlikely to have an impact in generating clean energy on a widespread basis, however, due to the toxicity of lead and cadmium.


  1. ^ B. O’Regan and M. Gratzel, (1991). "A low-cost, high efficiency solar cell based on dye-sensitized colloidal TiO2 films". Nature (353): 737-740.
  2. ^ D.S. Ginger and N.C. Greenham, (1999). "Photoinduced electron transfer from conjugated polymers to CdSe nanocrystals". Phys. Review B 59: 10622.
  3. ^ Ilan Gur, Neil A. Fromer, Michael L. Geier, and A. Paul Alivisatos, (2005). "Air-Stable All-Inorganic Nanocrystal Solar Cells Processed from Solution". Science 310 (5745): 462-465.
  4. ^ Quantum Dots May Boost Photovoltaic Efficiency To 65%


Other third generation solar cells

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nanocrystal_solar_cell". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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