Colloidal quantum dot (CQD) solar cells have been under the spotlight in recent years mainly due to their potential for low-cost solution-processed fabrication and efficient light harvesting through multiple exciton generation (MEG) and tunable absorption spectrum via the quantum size effect. Despite the impressive advances achieved in charge carrier mobility of quantum dot solids and the cells’ light trapping capabilities, the recent progress in CQD solar cell efficiencies has been slow, leaving them behind other competing solar cell technologies. In this work, using comprehensive optoelectronic modeling and simulation, we demonstrate the presence of a strong efficiency loss mechanism, here called the “efficiency black hole”, that can significantly hold back the improvements achieved by any efficiency enhancement strategy. We prove that this efficiency black hole is the result of sole focus on enhancement of either light absorption or charge extraction capabilities of CQD solar cells. This means that for a given thickness of CQD layer, improvements accomplished exclusively in optic or electronic aspect of CQD solar cells do not necessarily translate into tangible enhancement in their efficiency. The results suggest that in order for CQD solar cells to come out of the mentioned black hole, incorporation of an effective light trapping strategy and a high quality CQD film at the same time is an essential necessity. Using the developed optoelectronic model, the requirements for this incorporation approach and the expected efficiencies after its implementation are predicted as a roadmap for CQD solar cell research community.
Seyed Milad Mahpeykar and Xihua Wang, "Optoelectronic engineering of colloidal quantum-dot solar cells beyond the efficiency black hole: a modeling approach," Proc. SPIE 10099, Physics, Simulation, and Photonic Engineering of Photovoltaic Devices VI, 1009910 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 01, 2017; Published: 23 February 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2248289.
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