Quantum Dots, thanks to their band gap tunability, can be employed in next generation solar energy applications as absorbing photovoltaic materials or simply as light converters in luminescent solar concentrators.
Next generation photovoltaic designs using near infrared (NIR) colloidal quantum dots (CQD) implement frequencies that are typically difficult to achieve with traditional solar cells. Half of the solar energy reaching the Earth is in the infrared region, mostly corresponding to the near infrared. Quantum dot solar cells (QDSC) make infrared energy as accessible as any other. In addition, these structures can be used in tandem formations with mature Si photovoltaic cells.
CQDs offer easy synthesis and preparation, and also integration into photovoltaic cells in a fume hood as the most complex equipment needed. Large-scale production can implement spray-on or roll-printing systems, dramatically reducing module construction costs.
QD Luminescent Solar Concentrators
The band gap tunability and large separation between emission and absorption bands have increased the potential use of QDs in luminescent solar concentrators. A large portion of the incident sunlight is collected through the broad absorption bands of quantum dots and converted to specific wavelengths at which photovoltaic cells work most efficiently. With this concept, low cost transparent QD films can be used to harvest sunlight from relatively large areas such as windows, convert to particular wavelengths and concentrate onto small area photovoltaics, increasing the energy output of solar cells remarkably.