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Canadian and West Asian researchers create world’s most efficient CQD solar cell
Canadian and West Asian university researchers have claimed to develop the world’s most efficient solar cell of its kind. Researchers from the University of Toronto (U of T), Canada and King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, have made a breakthrough in the development of colloidal quantum dot (CQD) films, leading to what they claim is the most efficient CQD solar cell to date.
The researchers have created a solar cell out of inexpensive materials that has been certified at a world-record 7.0 per cent efficiency. U of T said the advance opens up many avenues for further research and improvement of device efficiencies, which could contribute to reliable, low-cost, next generation solar energy.
U of T engineering professor Ted Sargent has led the research. He said: “Our world urgently needs innovative, cost-effective ways to convert the sun’s abundant energy into usable electricity. This work shows that the abundant materials interfaces inside colloidal quantum dots can be mastered in a robust manner, proving that low cost and steadily-improving efficiencies can be combined.”
The U of T said quantum dots are semiconductors only a few nanometres in size and can be used to harvest electricity from the entire solar spectrum – including both visible and invisible wavelengths. Unlike current slow and expensive semiconductor growth techniques, CQD films can be created quickly and at low cost, similar to paint or ink. The research paves the way for solar cells that can be fabricated on flexible substrates in the same way newspapers are rapidly printed in mass quantities.
Dr. Susanna Thon, a lead co-author of the paper for the research, said: “Previously, quantum dot solar cells have been limited by the large internal surface areas of the nanoparticles in the film, which made extracting electricity difficult. Our breakthrough was to use a combination of organic and inorganic chemistry to completely cover all of the exposed surfaces.”