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Quantum Dot Solar Cells

More than one hundred of  the world’s first solar cells with EQE (External quantum efficiency)  were created recently showing significantly greater efficiency than regular solar cells.

These enhanced solar cells generate 40% more power for every photon which falls on the solar cell.

This achievement was possible with the help of Multiple Excitation Generation (MEG). MEG works by splitting and using a greater portion of the energy in the higher energy photons. The test results showed MEG produced an EQU value of 114 % for 4 eV photons.

“Since current solar cell technology is still too expensive to completely compete with non-renewable energy sources, this technology employing MEG demonstrates that the way in which scientists and engineers think about converting solar photons to electricity is constantly changing,” says Joseph Luther, a senior scientist at National Renewable Energy Laboratory who believes that MEG is the right technology to increase the efficiency of solar cells.

“There may be a chance to dramatically increase the efficiency of a module, which could result in solar panels that are much cheaper than non-renewable energy sources” he added.

The increase in efficiency comes from quantum dots harvesting energy. The energy lost as heat is lower and therefore the output power is greater compared to other semiconductors.

“While traditional semiconductors only produce one electron from each photon, nanometer-sized crystalline materials such as quantum dots avoid this restriction and are being developed as promising photovoltaic materials,” an AVS news release notes.

A research team from University of Toronto in Canada and KAUST in Saudi Arabia are working to reduce the electron trap which pulls the efficiency down. The team believes that by using layers of different sized quantum dots the range of light wavelengths can be broadened which can trap more photons.

Source : Science Daily
Image: Wikipedia

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