Researchers at the University of Toronto have designed and tested a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticles that could lead to cheaper and more flexible solar cells.
Developed by Ted Sargent, a professor at the department of electrical and computer engineering, and Zhijun Ning, a post-doctoral researcher, the new colloidal quantum dot (CQD) n-type semiconductors resist oxidation when exposed to air, and thus retain their electron rich properties. Reporting in Nature, the researchers say they have identified inorganic passivants that bind strongly to the CQD surface and repel oxidative attack.
The material was used to build a CQD solar cell that demonstrated power conversion efficiency as high as 8%. The researchers say the work could lead to inks that could be painted or printed onto thin, flexible surfaces to create low-cost solar power products, such as PV roofing shingles.