Scientists make major breakthrough in quantum dot solar cell efficiency, new world record

Tiny semiconductor slots are small enough to take advantage of the weirdness of quantum mechanics, and have great potential for solar energy,media New Atlas reported. These flexible, inexpensive quantum dots, which can replace conventional silicon as photovoltaic materials, promise many benefits, but their efficiency in converting sunlight into energy is not yet one of them. Scientists studying the issue have made a major breakthrough, developing quantum dot solar cells that are nearly 25 percent higher than previous world records and bringing the idea of flexible, transparent solar cells one step closer.

Scientists make major breakthrough in quantum dot solar cell efficiency, new world record

Quantum dot solar cells have the ability to be made into thin, light, flexible films that generate electrical energy from the sun, so quantum dot solar cells have become the real focus of scientists in the field. But they lag far behind the efficiency of standard solar cells by about 20 percent, but scientists are now closing the gap.

Scientists make major breakthrough in quantum dot solar cell efficiency, new world record

The previous record for quantum dot solar cell conversion efficiency set by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) was 13.4%. Scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia have made significant progress, setting a new world record of 16.6 per cent and have been tested independently.

“It’s important that we’re nearly 25 percent more efficient than the previous world record, ” said Professor Wang Lianzhou, who led the study. “This is actually the difference between the exciting ‘prospect’ of quantum dot solar cell technology and the commercial feasibility. “According to the team, the surfaces of other quantum dots can be very rough and unstable, which can hinder their efficiency. They overcame this problem with a new manufacturing technique that provided new features for their new quantum dots to overcome these defects.

Scientists make major breakthrough in quantum dot solar cell efficiency, new world record

“We deliberately controlled the surface functional chemicals on quantum points, resulting in a new surface engineering method that not only stabilizes the quantum dots, but also maintains the smooth path of electrons passing through (current),” Wang told the New Atlas. “

According to Wang Andinga and his team, these levels of efficiency open up some exciting possibilities. Because these quantum dots are flexible and can be printed on a cost-effective scale, further work allows them to be in the form of transparent skins that can be stacked on planes, cars and houses to generate electricity. Now, they will continue to accomplish these goals by developing the technology.

Scientists make major breakthrough in quantum dot solar cell efficiency, new world record

“In the future, we will further improve the efficiency of quantum dot solar cells, expand the printing technology of solar cells on flexible and transparent substrates for building windows, wearable electronic devices, and extend the application of quantum dots to other areas such as LEDs,” Wang said. “

The study was published in the journal Nature Energy.