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Facile solution growth of vertically aligned ZnO nanorods sensitized with aqueous CdS and CdSe quantum dots for photovoltaic applications

Chunyan Luan12, Aleksandar Vaneski13, Andrei S Susha13, Xueqing Xu13, Hong-En Wang12, Xue Chen12, Jun Xu12, Wenjun Zhang12, Chun-Sing Lee12, Andrey L Rogach13* and Juan Antonio Zapien12*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physics and Materials Science, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR

2 Center of Super-Diamond and Advanced Films (COSDAF), City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR

3 Centre for Functional Photonics (CFP), City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:340  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-340

Published: 14 April 2011


Vertically aligned single crystalline ZnO nanorod arrays, approximately 3 μm in length and 50-450 nm in diameter are grown by a simple solution approach on a Zn foil substrate. CdS and CdSe colloidal quantum dots are assembled onto ZnO nanorods array using water-soluble nanocrystals capped as-synthesized with a short-chain bifuncional linker thioglycolic acid. The solar cells co-sensitized with both CdS and CdSe quantum dots demonstrate superior efficiency compared with the cells using only one type of quantum dots. A thin Al2O3 layer deposited prior to quantum dot anchoring successfully acts as a barrier inhibiting electron recombination at the Zn/ZnO/electrolyte interface, resulting in power conversion efficiency of approximately 1% with an improved fill factor of 0.55. The in situ growth of ZnO nanorod arrays in a solution containing CdSe quantum dots provides better contact between two materials resulting in enhanced open circuit voltage.