Assessment of carrier-multiplication efficiency in bulk PbSe and PbS

J. J.H. Pijpers, R. Ulbricht, K. J. Tielrooij, A. Osherov, Y. Golan, C. Delerue, G. Allan, M. Bonn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

222 Scopus citations


One of the important factors limiting solar-cell efficiency is that incident photons generate one electron-hole pair, irrespective of the photon energy. Any excess photon energy is lost as heat. The possible generation of multiple charge carriers per photon (carrier multiplication) is therefore of great interest for future solar ells 1 . Carrier multiplication is known to occur in bulk miconductors, but has been thought to be enhanced significantly in nanocrystalline materials such as quantum dots, owing to their discrete energy levels and enhanced Coulomb interactions 1-3 . Contrary to this expectation, we demonstrate here that, for a given photon energy, carrier multiplication occurs more efficiently in bulk PbS and PbSe than in quantum dots of the same materials. Measured carrier-multiplication efficiencies in bulk materials are reproduced quantitatively using tight-binding calculations, which indicate that the reduced carrier-multiplication efficiency in quantum dots can be ascribed to the reduced density of states in these structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-814
Number of pages4
JournalNature Physics
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


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