Are quantum dot solar cells commercially viable?
The solar cells claim an optical conversion efficiency of 4.31 percent, which is a 1.7-fold increase from the 2.47 percent efficiency of conventional quantum dot solar batteries.
The research team, which comprised Professor Kim Jin-young, Professor Park Jong-nam from the Interdisciplinary School of Green Energy at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), and student Kim Gi-hwan, claims to have manufactured highly-efficient solar cells by synthesizing zinc oxide in liquid state, and coating the synthesized material at the top of a quantum dot.
The new solar cells should have a high energy conversion efficiency and be less expensive to make than conventional inorganic solar cells.
The quantum dot solar cells are produced by combining diethylzinc that contains high activation energy with zinc oxide in the air, without the need of a high-temperature heat treatment. Low-cost aluminum can also be used to make electrodes of solar cells instead of gold by inversely changing the structure of the quantum dots and zinc oxide inside the solar battery, and then coating the material on the surface of the electrodes.
The devlopemnt paves the way for the commercialization of quantum dot solar cells which could next-generation solar cells. The quantum dot solar cells can be fabricated at a low temperature and will be cheaper to produce because aluminum can be used to make the electrodes.
The study was conducted as part of a joint research project for energy supported by Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, and the Korea Institute of Energy Technology Evaluation and Planning. The research findings were first published online on Feb. 22 by Advanced Materials, a weekly scientific journal covering materials science.