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Home > News > Quantum dots could boost solar cell efficiency

March 16th, 2009

Quantum dots could boost solar cell efficiency

Abstract:
Solar cells may soon be more efficient than previously thought possible, thanks to a recent result from the PULSE Institute for Ultrafast Energy Science, a joint institute of DOE's SLAC National Accelerator Center and Stanford University. The PULSE researchers confirmed the results of a Los Alamos National Laboratory experiment that measured one photon of light generating more than one electron of electricity in a so-called "quantum dot"—a sphere made of only a few thousand atoms. Scientists previously assumed that one photon could excite exactly one electron, limiting the efficiency of solar cells. Using a slightly different experimental method than previous such experiments, the PULSE researchers confirmed the Los Alamos findings and determined that a single photon can excite as many as three electrons in a quantum dot. The next step in the quest for efficient solar power is to build a solar cell that uses quantum dots to realize this efficiency.

Source:
Department of Energy

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