Toronto Researchers Increase Solar Efficiency by 35 Percent in Quantum Dot Photovoltaics
March 11, 2013 4:26 PM
This mean an 11 percent solar power conversion efficiency increase overall
A Canadian research team has used a certain type of nanoparticle to increase the efficiency of
Ted Sargent, study leader and a professor at the University of Toronto's Engineering Department, along with Dr. Susanna Thon, has improved the efficiency of colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics through the use of plasmonic nanoparticles.
While colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics offer a lot of potential for large-area, low-cost solar power, they're not quite as efficient in the infrared area of the sun's spectrum.
To address this, the team used plasmonic nanoparticles that are spectrally tuned, meaning that they offer control over light absorption. The gold nanoshells were embedded directly into the quantum dot absorber film to do so.
The team added that gold is not the only material that can be used for this, since it isn't the most economical. Lower-cost materials can be used as well.
Using this technique, the team saw a 35 percent
increase in efficiency
in the near-infrared spectral region. This mean an 11 percent solar power conversion efficiency increase overall.
"There are two advantages to colloidal quantum dots," Thon said. "First, they're much cheaper, so they reduce the cost of electricity generation measured in cost per watt of power. But the main advantage is that by simply changing the size of the quantum dot, you can change its light-absorption spectrum. Changing the size is very easy, and this size-tunability is a property shared by plasmonic materials: by changing the size of the plasmonic particles, we were able to overlap the absorption and scattering spectra of these two key classes of nanomaterials."
From here, the team plans to look into cheaper metals to build a better cell.
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