go to top scroll for more


Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/K008544/1
Title Enhanced multiple exciton generation in colloidal quantum dots
Status Completed
Energy Categories Renewable Energy Sources(Solar Energy, Photovoltaics) 100%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 50%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 100%
Principal Investigator Dr DJ Binks
No email address given
Physics and Astronomy
University of Manchester
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 09 May 2013
End Date 08 November 2016
Duration 42 months
Total Grant Value £627,944
Industrial Sectors No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Region North West
Programme Energy : Physical Sciences
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr DJ Binks , Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester (99.998%)
  Other Investigator Professor WR Flavell , Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester (0.001%)
Professor P O'Brien , Chemistry, University of Manchester (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Nanoco Technologies Ltd (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract Solar power is one of the most promising alternatives to using oil, gas and coal to generate the energy we need. Sunlight is freely available, safe and enough of it reaches the earth from the sun to supply all our energy needs 10,000 times over. It is also clean, releasing none of the carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere that fossil fuels do and which threatens to cause damaging climate change. However, today's solar cells are not yet economic; it is still cheaper to produce power by burning fossil fuels and this is preventing their wide-spread use.How can we make solar cells economically competitive with fossil fuels? There are two ways: make them more cheaply or make them more efficient, or preferably both! Most of the solar cells you see around today are made from silicon and are up to 20% efficient but are expensive to make. Some newer, different types of cell are beginnning to become available which are a lot cheaper to make but are only 10% efficient at most. The aim of this project is to have the best of both worlds - solar cells that are both cheap and efficient enough to compete with fossil fuels.The key part of these new cells will be 'quantum dots' - these are tiny crystals of semiconductor that will absorb the sunlight and turn it into electricity. In today's solar cells, about half of the energy from the sun is wasted as heat as soon as the sunlight is absorbed by the cell. In quantum dots, however, something else can happen - the energy that would become waste heat in a normal cell can be used instead to produce extra electricity. This means that solar cells based on quantum dots could be up to 50% more efficient than today's technology. This is an exciting prospect and could be important but we still need to understand this process better. In this project, we will produce new types of quantum dots which are designed to maximise the effciency with which sunlight is turned into electricity. These dots must also be made from materials which are cheap, abundant and safe. We will use X-rays to study their structure carefully and lasers to study what happens to the light as it is absorbed. Complex computer models will be used to help us better understand what is happening and make the conversion of sunlight to electricity as efficient as it can be. Finally, we will build a prototype solar cell using these new quantum dots which will demonstrate how they can be used to generate electricity safely, cleanly and cheaply
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 14/08/13