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Q-BICs: Quantum Dots With a Built-In-Charge to Increase Solar Cell Efficiency

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A few articles back we all agreed that gathering the infrared part of the visible sunlight would do the solar industry a huge amount of good, as the production of electricity would skyrocket. The finding is at least a decade old, but only now did UB engineers and their military colleagues think about putting it to test.

The trick Vladimir Mitin, Andrei Sergeev and Nizami Vagidov got a hold of is to enclose charged quantum dots (Q-BICs) into photovoltaic cells. By getting the infrared light as well, the benefit is double: more electricity, but also a longer lifetime for the photoelectrons.

Moreover, the team opted to use selective doping, which has the power of boosting the built-in charge of the quantum dots. This is a great effect, because it drives back electrons, keeping them away from the recombination that would otherwise prejudice the formation of electricity. This way, selective doping makes electrons avoid the quantum dots.

According to Mitin,  a move like that can almost double the electricity output of the solar cells, which will have returns on a higher level: the consumer, who can save money on bills and set up a smaller solar field, but also the region itself.

After making this finding, the team followed all the right steps: they had their discovery published in the Nano Letters Journal, filed for provisional patents and are currently seeking funds from private investors and federal programs.

[via Buffalo]

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