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University of TorontoNew research emerging from the University of Toronto’s Edward S Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering is developing and demonstrating a new class of solar-sensitive nanoparticle.

MaRS Innovation is working with Professor Ted Sargent, his research team and U of T’s Innovations and Partnerships Office (IPO) to incubate and commercialize this and other solar technologies. Their work was recently published in Nature Materials.

The paper’s publication was widely covered in the technical trades, including, Tech Times, Compound and Gizmag, among others, and on the university’s website.

Here’s an excerpt from

Led by post-doctoral researcher Zhijun Ning and Professor Ted Sargent, the research work resulted in the development of a new form of solid, stable light-sensitive nanoparticles, known as colloidal quantum dots.

Developed in collaboration with Dalhousie University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Huazhong University of Science and Technology, the solar-sensitive nanoparticles are cheaper than the traditional panels, large and rectangular.

In addition to being cheaper, the colloidal quantum dots are more flexible solar cells, and better gas sensors, infrared lasers, infrared light emitting diodes and more.

Ning said with this new material, researchers can build new device structures.

“Iodide is almost a perfect ligand for these quantum solar cells with both high efficiency and air stability – no one has shown that before,” Ning said.

A new colloidal quantum dot n-type material has been modeled and demonstrated by the researchers which do not bind to oxygen when exposed to air.

Sargent said, “The field of colloidal quantum dot photovoltaics requires continued improvement in absolute performance, or power conversion efficiency.

“The field has moved fast, and keeps moving fast, but we need to work toward bringing performance to commercially compelling levels.”

For more information about the technology, contact David Asgeirsson, manager, Technology & Venture Development and head of the Clean Technologies Area.

Posted by Elizabeth Monier-Williams, director of marketing and communications.

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