Conformal fabrication of colloidal quantum dot solids for optically enhanced photovoltaics

André J. Labelle, Susanna M. Thon, Jin Young Kim, Xinzheng Lan, David Zhitomirsky, Kyle W. Kemp, Edward H. Sargent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Colloidal quantum dots (CQD) are an attractive thin-film material for photovoltaic applications due to low material costs, ease of fabrication, and size-tunable band gap. Unfortunately, today they suffer from a compromise between light absorption and photocarrier extraction, a fact that currently prevents the complete harvest of incoming above-band-gap solar photons. We have investigated the use of structured substrates and/or electrodes to increase the effective light path through the active material and found that these designs require highly conformal application of the light-absorbing films to achieve the greatest enhancement. This conformality requirement derives from the need for maximal absorption enhancement combined with shortest-distance charge transport. Here we report on a means of processing highly conformal layer-by-layer deposited CQD absorber films onto microstructured, light-recycling electrodes. Specifically, we engineer surface hydrophilicity to achieve conformal deposition of upper layers atop underlying ones. We show that only with the application of conformal coating can we achieve optimal quantum efficiency and enhanced power conversion efficiency in structured-electrode CQD cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5447-5453
Number of pages7
JournalACS nano
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 26 2015


  • colloidal quantum dots
  • conformal thin film
  • optically enhanced solar cells
  • photovoltaics
  • solution-processed thin film
  • structured electrodes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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