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Non-sintered, Layered Nanocrystal Photovoltaic Cells

IB-2511

 

APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:

  • Low-cost power conversion
  • Solar cells
  • Power supply for consumer electronic

ADVANTAGES:

  • Economical colloidal synthetic approach
  • Low-temperature fabrication, at atmospheric pressure, no sintering needed
  • Power conversion efficiency exceeds 1.6%, high carrier mobility
  • Optimized bandgap for maximum absorption
  • Can be adapted to plastic substrates, for flexibility and low cost
  • Earth-abundant, nontoxic materials

ABSTRACT:

Paul Alivisatos, Cyrus Wadia, and Yue Wu of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have developed photovoltaic cells that offer distinct advantages over current solar technology.   With a power conversion efficiency exceeding 1.6%, the new cells are produced using a novel approach - solution-phase colloidal synthesis of chalcocite (copper sulfide) nanocrystals.

The layered films of chalcocite and cadmium sulfide nanorods improve not only upon single-crystal and thin-film solar photovoltaic cells, but also on recent semiconductor nanostructure solar technology (e.g., all-inorganic, dye-sensitized, and hybrid nanocrystal-polymer composite solar cells). Semiconductor nanostructure solar cells typically have a relatively large bandgap of approximately 1.7 eV, whereas the Berkeley Lab hexagonal chalcocite nanocrystal films, which are spin-cast and monodispersed and have a bandgap of 1.26 eV, can make use of more of the solar spectrum. Moreover, they can be synthesized at temperatures as low as 150 degrees, without the need for high-temperature sintering or annealing, saving energy and substantially reducing manufacturing costs.

The nanocrystal films, on a substrate of glass, have excellent optical properties. The potential for transferring the technique to polymer substrates promises to further reduce costs for the manufacture of a lightweight, shock-resistant, and flexible power source that could be used in handheld consumer electronics.

STATUS:

  • Published Patent Application PCT/US2009/035699 available at www.wipo.int. Available for licensing or collaborative research.

To learn more about licensing a technology from LBNL see http://www.lbl.gov/Tech-Transfer/licensing/index.html.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2511

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