University of Toronto researchers develop cheaper, lighter solar cells

10 June 2014 (Last Updated June 10th, 2014 18:30)

The University of Toronto Edward S Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering researchers in Canada have developed and demonstrated a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle.

researchers assessing new solar cell

The University of Toronto Edward S Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering researchers in Canada have developed and demonstrated a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle.

Led by post-doctoral researcher Zhijun Ning and Professor Ted Sargent, the research work resulted in the development of a new form of solid, stable light-sensitive nanoparticles, known as colloidal quantum dots.

Developed in collaboration with Dalhousie University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the solar-sensitive nanoparticles are cheaper than the traditional panels, large and rectangular.

In addition to being cheaper, the colloidal quantum dots are more flexible solar cells, and better gas sensors, infrared lasers, infrared light emitting diodes and more.

Ning said with this new material, researchers can build new device structures.

"Iodide is almost a perfect ligand for these quantum solar cells with both high efficiency and air stability."

"Iodide is almost a perfect ligand for these quantum solar cells with both high efficiency and air stability - no one has shown that before," Ning said.

A new colloidal quantum dot n-type material has been modeled and demonstrated by the researchers which do not bind to oxygen when exposed to air.

Sargent said, "The field of colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics requires continued improvement in absolute performance, or power conversion efficiency.

"The field has moved fast, and keeps moving fast, but we need to work toward bringing performance to commercially compelling levels."


Image: Co-authors Zhijun Ning and Oleksandr Voznyy examine a film coated with colloidal quantum dots. Photo: courtesy of Roberta Baker / University of Toronto.

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