Ligand-Assisted Reconstruction of Colloidal Quantum Dots Decreases Trap State Density

Bin Sun, Maral Vafaie, Larissa Levina, Mingyang Wei, Yitong Dong, Yajun Gao, Hao Ting Kung, Margherita Biondi, Andrew H. Proppe, Bin Chen, Min-Jae Choi, Laxmi Kishore Sagar, Oleksandr Voznyy, Shana O. Kelley, Frédéric Laquai, Zhenghong Lu, Sjoerd Hoogland, F Pelayo García de Arquer, E. Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Increasing the power conversion efficiency (PCE) of colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solar cells has relied on improving the passivation of CQD surfaces, enhancing CQD coupling and charge transport, and advancing device architecture. The presence of hydroxyl groups on the nanoparticle surface, as well as dimers—fusion between CQDs—has been found to be the major source of trap states, detrimental to optoelectronic properties and device performance. Here, we introduce a CQD reconstruction step that decreases surface hydroxyl groups and dimers simultaneously. We explored the dynamic interaction of charge carriers between band-edge states and trap states in CQDs using time-resolved spectroscopy, showing that trap to ground-state recombination occurs mainly from surface defects in coupled CQD solids passivated using simple metal halides. Using CQD reconstruction, we demonstrate a 60% reduction in trap density and a 25% improvement in charge diffusion length. These translate into a PCE of 12.5% compared to 10.9% for control CQDs.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3694-3702
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 31 2020

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): OSR-2018-CARF/CCF-3079
Acknowledgements: This work was supported by Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence program (ORF7 Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario Research Fund-Research Excellence Round 7), by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) under Award No. OSR-2018-CRG7-373702 and Award No. OSR-2018-CARF/CCF-3079, and by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada. The authors acknowledge the financial support from QD Solar.


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