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Harnessing Sun’s Energy with Quantum Dots Based Next Generation Solar Cell

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Author(s): Mohammad A. Halim

Journal: Nanomaterials
ISSN 2079-4991

Volume: 3;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 22;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: solar energy | light harvesting | quantum dots | cadmium sulfide | lead sulfide

ABSTRACT
Our energy consumption relies heavily on the three components of fossil fuels (oil, natural gas and coal) and nearly 83% of our current energy is consumed from those sources. The use of fossil fuels, however, has been viewed as a major environmental threat because of their substantial contribution to greenhouse gases which are responsible for increasing the global average temperature. Last four decades, scientists have been searching for alternative sources of energy which need to be environmentally clean, efficient, cost-effective, renewable, and sustainable. One of the promising sustainable sources of energy can be achieved by harnessing sun energy through silicon wafer, organic polymer, inorganic dye, and quantum dots based solar cells. Among them, quantum dots have an exceptional property in that they can excite multiple electrons using only one photon. These dots can easily be synthesized, processed in solution, and incorporated into solar cell application. Interestingly, the quantum dots solar cells can exceed the Shockley-Queisser limit; however, it is a great challenge for other solar cell materials to exceed the limit. Theoretically, the quantum dots solar cell can boost the power conversion efficiency up to 66% and even higher to 80%. Moreover, in changing the size of the quantum dots one can utilize the Sun’s broad spectrum of visible and infrared ranges. This review briefly overviews the present performance of different materials-based solar cells including silicon wafer, dye-sensitized, and organic solar cells. In addition, recent advances of the quantum dots based solar cells which utilize cadmium sulfide/selenide, lead sulfide/selenide, and new carbon dots as light harvesting materials has been reviewed. A future outlook is sketched as to how one could improve the efficiency up to 10% from the current highest efficiency of 6.6%.

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