Multiple exciton generation in nanocrystal quantum dots - Controversy, current status and future prospects

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    Multiple exciton generation is a process that can occur in quantum dots by which the energy of an absorbed photon in excess of the bandgap can be used to create one or more additional excitons instead of being wasted as heat. This effect has received considerable interest because it has the potential to significantly enhance the performance of solar cells, nanocrystal lasers, high speed electronic devices and photocatalysts. However, measuring the efficiency of multiple exciton generation is experimentally challenging and the results of these measurements have been the subject of some controversy. This Perspective describes the techniques used to determine the quantum yield of multiexcitons in nanocrystals and also details the experimental artefacts that can confuse these measurements and have been the source of much of the recent debate. The greater understanding of these artefacts that has emerged recently and the experimental techniques developed to eliminate their effects on quantum yield measurements will also be described. The efficiency of multiple exciton generation currently obtainable from nanocrystals and its potential impact on solar cell performance is assessed in the light of this improved experimental understanding. Whilst it is found the quantum yields thus far reported are insufficient to result in more than a modest increase in solar cell efficiency, an analysis of the expected performance of a nanocrystal engineered to maximise multiple exciton generation indicates that a significant improvement in solar cell performance is possible. Moreover, a nanocrystal design is proposed for optimised efficiency of multiple exciton generation which would allow its potential benefit to solar power production to be realised. © the Owner Societies 2011.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)12693-12704
    Number of pages11
    JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
    Issue number28
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2011


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