Infrared colloidal quantum dots for photovoltaics: Fundamentals and recent progress

Jiang Tang, Edward H. Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

426 Scopus citations


Colloidal quantum dots (CQDs) are solution-processed semiconductors of interest in low-cost photovoltaics. Tuning of the bandgap of CQD films via the quantum size effect enables customization of solar cells' absorption profile to match the sun's broad visible- and infrared-containing spectrum reaching the earth. Here we review recent progress in the realization of low-cost, efficient solar cells based on CQDs. We focus in particular on CQD materials and approaches that provide both infrared and visible-wavelength solar power conversion CQD photovoltaics now exceed 5% solar power conversion efficiency, achieved by the introduction of a new architecture, the depleted-heterojunction CQD solar cell, that jointly maximizes current, voltage, and fill factor. CQD solar cells have also seen major progress in materials processing for stability, recently achieving extended operating lifetimes in an air ambient. We summarize progress both in device operation and also in gaining new insights into materials properties and processing - including new electrical contact materials and deposition techniques, as well as CQD synthesis, surface treatments, film-forming technologies - that underpin these rapid advances. Infrared colloidal quantum dots that absorb most of the solar radiation enable potential efficient and low-cost photovoltaic devices. Careful optimization of quantum dot passivation and device configuration leads to solar cells with AM1.5G efficiency as high as 5.1%

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)12-29
Number of pages18
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 4 2011


  • Photovoltaics
  • colloidal quantum dots
  • materials chemistry
  • solar cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)


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