Cation-Exchange Synthesis of Highly Monodisperse PbS Quantum Dots from ZnS Nanorods for Efficient Infrared Solar Cells

Matthew Beard, Yong Xia, Sisi Liu, Kang Wang, Xiaokun Yang, Linyuan Lian, Zhiming Zhang, Jungang He, Guijie Liang, Song Wang, Manlin Tan, Haisheng Song, Daoli Zhang, Jianbo Gao, Jiang Tiang, Jianbing Zhang

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88 Scopus Citations


Infrared solar cells that utilize low-bandgap colloidal quantum dots (QDs) are promising devices to enhance the utilization of solar energy by expanding the harvested photons of common photovoltaics into the infrared region. However, the present synthesis of PbS QDs cannot produce highly efficient infrared solar cells. Here, a general synthesis is developed for low-bandgap PbS QDs (0.65–1 eV) via cation exchange from ZnS nanorods (NRs). First, ZnS NRs are converted to superlattices with segregated PbS domains within each rod. Then, sulfur precursors are released via the dissolution of the ZnS NRs during the cation exchange, which promotes size focusing of PbS QDs. PbS QDs synthesized through this new method have the advantages of high monodispersity, ease-of-size control, in situ passivation of chloride, high stability, and a “clean” surface. Infrared solar cells based on these PbS QDs with different bandgaps are fabricated, using conventional ligand exchange and device structure. All of the devices produced in this manner show excellent performance, showcasing the high quality of the PbS QDs. The highest performance of infrared solar cells is achieved using ≈0.95 eV PbS QDs, exhibiting an efficiency of 10.0% under AM 1.5 solar illumination, a perovskite-filtered efficiency of 4.2%, and a silicon-filtered efficiency of 1.1%.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1907379
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Functional Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5900-73814


  • cation exchange
  • nanorods
  • PbS
  • quantum dots
  • solar cells


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