Slashdot reports researchers at the University of Minnesota have figured out a way to double the efficiency of solar cells with quantum dots made of lead selenide. The technology has the potential to create solar cells with efficiencies of up to 66 percent, but new solar cell designs will be necessary to be able to implement it.
"A team of University of Minnesota-led researchers has cleared a major hurdle in the drive to build solar cells with potential efficiencies up to twice as high as current levels, which rarely exceed 30 percent. ... Tisdale and his colleagues demonstrated that quantum dots — made not of silicon but of another semiconductor called lead selenide — could indeed be made to surrender their 'hot' electrons before they cooled. The electrons were pulled away by titanium dioxide, another common inexpensive and abundant semiconductor material that behaves like a wire."