Infrared Harvesting Colloidal Quantum Dot Solar Cell Based on Multi-scale Disordered Electrodes

  • Yi Tian

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics (CQDPV) offer a big potential to be a renewable energy source due to low cost and tunable band-gap. Currently, the certified power conversion efficiency of CQDPV has reached 9.2%. Compared to the 31% theoretical efficiency limit of single junction solar cells, device performances have still have a large potential to be improved. For photovoltaic devices, a classical way to enhance absorption is to increase the thickness of the active layers. Although this approach can improve absorption, it reduces the charge carriers extraction efficiency. Photo-generated carriers, in fact, are prone to recombine within the defects inside CQD active layers. In an effort to solve this problem, we proposed to increase light absorption from a given thickness of colloidal quantum dot layers with the assistance of disorder. Our approach is to develop new types of electrodes with multi-scale disordered features, which localize energy into the active layer through plasmonic effects. We fabricated nanostructured gold substrates by electrochemical methods, which allow to control surface disorder as a function of deposition conditions. We demonstrated that the light absorption from 600 nm to 800 nm is impressively enhanced, when the disorder of the nanostructured surface increases. Compared to the planar case, the most disorder case increased 65% light absorption at the wavelength of λ = 700nm in the 100 nm PbS film. The average absorption enhancement across visible and infrared region in 100 nm PbS film is 49.94%. By developing a photovoltaic module, we measured a dramatic 34% improvement in the short-circuit current density of the device. The power conversion efficiency of the tested device in top-illumination configuration showed 25% enhancement.
Date of AwardJun 23 2015
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Computer, Electrical and Mathematical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorAndrea Fratalocchi (Supervisor)


  • energy harvesting
  • Quantum dots
  • sloar cells
  • infrared

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