Title: Photogenerated charge carriers in semiconductor nanomaterials for solar energy conversion

Authors: Jennifer K. Hensel, Jin Z. Zhang

Addresses: Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, 1156 High street Santa Cruz, CA, USA. ' Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, 1156 High street Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Abstract: Semiconducting nanomaterials possess unique optical and electronic properties ideally suited for solar energy harvesting applications, including tuneable optical absorption due to quantum confinement effects. With above bandgap light excitation, photogenerated charge carriers (PCCs) can be collected as electricity in photovoltaic solar cells, used directly in photocatalytic redox reactions, or utilised to drive chemical reactions in photoelectrochemical (PEC) devices. Inherent electron hole recombination and charge carrier trapping usually compete with and limit the efficiency of charge separation, collection, transport, or reaction. The advantage of using semiconductor nanomaterials for solar devices is the ability to manipulate their electronic band structures and thereby alter their opto-electronic properties and functionalities. To understand the fundamental charge carrier dynamics, various time-resolved techniques that directly probe the carrier lifetime and behaviour have been employed. This review focuses on new strategies to increase the separation of charge carriers using methods such as quantum dot (QD)-sensitisation of metal oxides (MOs), elemental doping, or combined approaches for achieving synergistic effects.

Keywords: quantum dots; QD sensitisation; photolectrochemistry; solar energy conversion; solar power; photogenerated charge carriers; recombination; semiconductor nanomaterials; nanotechnology; photovoltaic solar cells; photocatalytic redox reactions; electronic band structure; metal oxides; elemental doping.

DOI: 10.1504/IJNP.2011.040504

International Journal of Nanoparticles, 2011 Vol.4 No.2/3, pp.95 - 118

Received: 06 Jul 2010
Accepted: 04 Sep 2010

Published online: 13 Mar 2015 *

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