Plasmon-Enhanced Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Technology #15790

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Tunable Localized Surface Plasmon-Enabled Broadband Light Harvesting Enhancement for Panchromatic Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells 1
Professor Angela Belcher
Department of Biological Engineering, MIT
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Professor Paula Hammond
Department of Chemical Engineering, MIT
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Jifa Qi
Department of Biological Engineering, MIT
Xiangnan Dang
Department of Biological Engineering, MIT
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Christopher Noble
MIT Technology Licensing Officer - Clean and Renewable Energy
Patent Protection

Plasmon-Enhanced Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells:

PCT Patent Application WO 2014-058861

Plasmon-Enhanced Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells:

US Patent Pending US 2015-0262760
Tunable Localized Surface Plasmon-Enabled Broadband Light-Harvesting Enhancement for High-Efficiency Panchromatic Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells
Nano Letters, February 3, 2013, p. 637


This technology improves broadband light absorption in solar cells.

Problem Addressed

For optimal performance, solar cells should have high rates of light harvesting and good carrier collection efficiency.  However, thicker light absorbing layers are required to improve light harvesting, particularly at longer wavelengths, but thicker layers also reduce carrier collection efficiency.  As a result, the solar cell usually does not effectively utilize longer wavelengths of light.  This technology uses localized surface plasmons in dye-sensitized solar cells to improve light gathering at longer wavelengths and increase the overall solar cell performance.


This technology mixes multiple-core-shell oxide-metal-oxide plasmonic nanoparticles with the photoactive material to form the photoactive layer.  The nanoparticles are tuned to produce localized surface plasmons that resonate in the wavelengths that the photoactive material does not absorb well.  This resonance amplifies the intensity of those wavelengths for the surrounding photoactive molecules, allowing better absorption without increasing the thickness of the photoactive layer.  This allows the solar cell to utilize a larger portion of the solar spectrum and improves the overall performance.  The nanoparticles used in this technology can easily be tuned for a wide range of photoactive materials and are stable enough for high-temperature fabrication.


  • Increases light absorption in solar cells, especially for longer wavelength light
  • Compatible with commercially available photoactive materials
  • Does not require engineering new photoactive materials