Infrared Colloidal Quantum Dot Photovoltaics via Coupling Enhancement and Agglomeration Suppression

Alexander H. Ip, Amirreza Kiani, Iilan J. Kramer, Oleksandr Voznyy, Hamidreza F. Movahed, Larissa Levina, Michael M. Adachi, Sjoerd Hoogland, Edward H. Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Materials optimized for single-junction solar spectral harvesting, such as silicon, perovskites, and large-band-gap colloidal quantum dot solids, fail to absorb the considerable infrared spectral energy that lies below their respective band gap. Here we explore through modeling and experiment the potential for colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) to augment the performance of solar cells by harnessing transmitted light in the infrared. Through detailed balance modeling, we identify the CQD band gap that is best able to augment wafer-based, thin-film, and also solution-processed photovoltaic (PV) materials. The required quantum dots, with an excitonic peak at 1.3 μm, have not previously been studied in depth for solar performance. Using computational studies we find that a new ligand scheme distinct from that employed in better-explored 0.95 μm band gap PbS CQDs is necessary; only via the solution-phase application of a short bromothiol can we prevent dot fusion during ensuing solid-state film treatments and simultaneously offer a high valence band-edge density of states to enhance hole transport. Photoluminescence spectra and transient studies confirm the desired narrowed emission peaks and reduced surface-trap-associated decay. Electronic characterization reveals that only through the use of the bromothiol ligands is strong hole transport retained. The films, when used to make PV devices, achieve the highest AM1.5 power conversion efficiency yet reported in a solution-processed material having a sub-1 eV band gap.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8833-8842
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-11-04
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUS-11-009-21
Acknowledgements: This publication was based in part on work supported by Award KUS-11-009-21, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), by the Ontario Research Fund Research Excellence Program, and by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. This research is supported in part by the IBM Canada Research and Development Center. Computations were performed on the GPC supercomputer at the SciNet HPC Consortium. SciNet is funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation under the auspices of Compute Canada; the Government of Ontario; Ontario Research Fund - Research Excellence; and the University of Toronto. The authors would like to thank R. Comin, G. Walters, E. Yassitepe, F. P. G. de Arguer, Z. Yang, A. Labelle, L. Rollny, D. Zhitomirsky, and G. Moreno-Bautista for their help throughout the course of this study.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering


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