Bardeen Research Group

Department of Chemistry | University of California @ Riverside | 501 Big Springs Road | 127-131 CS-1

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Bardeen Research Group
University of California, Riverside * Department of Chemistry
501 Big Springs Rd * Riverside, CA 92521, USA
Phone: +1.951.827.2723 * Fax: +1.951.827.4713 * Email:

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Upconversion: Reshaping the Solar Spectrum to Turn Light into Electricity

The infrared region of the solar spectrum passes right through photovoltaic materials that make up today’s solar cells. This is energy lost, no matter how good your solar cell.  We have developed a hybrid molecule that combines inorganic semiconductor nanocrystals with organic emitters to "reshape the solar spectrum" so that it better matches the PV materials used today in solar cells. It works by first capturing two infrared photons that would normally pass right through a solar cell without being converted to electricity, then adds their energies together to make one higher energy photon.  This upconverted photon is readily absorbed by photovoltaic cells, generating electricity from light that normally would be wasted. 

The ability to utilize the infrared portion of the solar spectrum could boost solar photovoltaic efficiencies by 30 percent or more.

from UCR Today by Iqbal Pittalwala July 27, 2015

Photographs of near-IR and visible upconversion in cuvettes containing the novel molecule-nanocrystal hybrids.

For more information, check out our paper
Hybrid Molecule-Nanocrystal Photon Upconversion Across the Visible and Near-IR.
NanoLetters 2015, 15, 5552-5557

The photographs, taken with an iPhone 5, were not modified in any way.IMAGE CREDIT: ZHIYUAN HUANG, UC RIVERSIDE.