Environmentally friendly nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots for next generation solar cells

Darragh Carolan, Conor Rocks, Dilli Babu Padmanaban, PD Maguire, Vladimir Svrcek, D Mariotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Citations (Scopus)


Shine on you crazy carbon! In this work, nitrogen-doped carbon quantum dots (N-CQDs) are synthesized using a simple custom atmospheric pressure microplasma. The method is facile, rapid, and environmentally friendly and the N-CQDs can be produced in a few minutes with no need for high temperature, complicated chemical techniques, or surface ligands. The N-CQDs are formed using molecular precursors and can be produced in different solvent mixtures. Material characterization techniques show a high degree of nitrogen doping on the QD surface with the amount of nitrogen depending on initial reaction conditions. The N-CQDs show interesting quantum confined optical properties that depend on the amount of nitrogen incorporation. Importantly, the band energy structure of the N-CQDs is elucidated and they are incorporated into a photovoltaic device as the photoactive layer achieving an extraordinary open-circuit voltage of 1.8 V and a power conversion efficiency of 0.8 (champion device), amongst the highest reported to date for group IV and carbon based quantum dots.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1611-1619
JournalSustainable Energy & Fuels
Early online date9 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished online - 9 Aug 2017


  • quantum dots


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