Recent results have demonstrated that hybrid photovoltaic cells based on a blend of inorganic nanocrystals and polymers possess significant potential for low-cost, scalable solar power conversion. Colloidal semiconductor nanocrystals, like polymers, are solution processable and chemically synthesized, but possess the advantageous properties of inorganic semiconductors such as a broad spectral absorption range and high carrier mobilities. Significant advances in hybrid solar cells have followed the development of elongated nanocrystal rods and branched nanocrystals, which enable more effective charge transport. The incorporation of these larger nanostructures into polymers has required optimization of blend morphology using solvent mixtures. Future advances will rely on new nanocrystals, such as cadmium telluride tetrapods, that have the potential to enhance light absorption and further improve charge transport. Gains can also be made by incorporating application-specific organic components, including electroactive surfactants which control the physical and electronic interactions between nanocrystals and polymer.
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