Prashant Kamat, the Rev. John A. Zahm Professor of Science, and postdoctoral associate Pralay Santra, have published findings on that discusses their research on the efficiency of solar cells.
The research team originally proposed the concept of a rainbow cell, which is a solar cell made up layers of quantum dots. The size of the dot determines which wavelengths (colors) of light on the visible spectrum are absorbed by the dot.
Kamat and Santra tested the rainbow cell concept and found that solar cells consisting of two or three layers of dots have an efficiency of 40-60% higher than the total efficiency of separate solar cells made of individual layers. Although they do not yet know what causes this effect, their research could one day lead to new ways of constructing more efficient solar cells.