Quantum Dot Solar Cell with Record Setting Efficiency

University of Queensland Background
Colloidal quantum dots (QDs) are a promising material in numerous photonic technologies, including solar cells, light emitting diodes (LEDs), lasers, radiation detectors and photodetectors. Such quantum dots are especially advantageous due to the tunability of the material bandgap, energetic position of the electronic states and surface chemistry, low temperature solution synthesis process and facile printable technology for film fabrication. High power efficiencies have been reported in solar cell devices with quantum dots. Researchers at the University of Queensland (UQ) have had a recent breakthrough on low-cost emerging generation quantum dot solar cells (QDSCs) that achieve a world record stabilised efficiency of 16.6%, which is over 3% higher than the previous record efficiency (13.4%, held by The National Renewable Energy Laboratory NREL, USA) ().
Technology Overview
The photovoltaic (PV) performance parameters of the QD technology are presented in .
UV-vis absorption spectra and steady-state photoluminescence (PL) spectra of QDs with varying composition demonstrate a high degree of tuneability.
High resolution TEM (HRTEM) analysis of various hybrid QDs (an example is shown in ) evidences that they are cubic-shaped and monodispersed with sizes around 10 nm. HRTEM micrographs verify the single-crystalline nature with high crystallinity.
Furthermore, UQ’s QD films show a high phase stability in humid air and have a low defect density.

Novel synthesis procedure for quantum dot ink for solar cells with record low loss
Fast rate of synthesis
Fabrication method results in superior stability and optoelectronic property compared to the current best in class QDSC
Tuneable bandgap and narrow emission peaks
Printable technology on flexible substrates

Benefits of QDs versus other types of solar cells:

Room temperature process for making films (low cost)
compatible with printing
operational stability (QDs repel moisture)
no phase separation under long-term illumination
candidate for multijunction application with tuneable bandgap
narrow emission peaks


Robust and flexible solar panels that are semi-transparent for building integration
QLED applications to achieve high sharpness with the narrow emission peaks and tunability of the QDs ()

UniQuest is seeking licensing, collaborative or investment partners to commercialise the technology.

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