Faculty Advisor

Rao, Pratap M.

Faculty Advisor

Timko, Michael T.


Solar energy is a growing source of sustainable energy. However, some of the main components of solar cells are made up of inorganic, toxic, and expensive materials.[1, 2] In this study, carbon quantum dots (CQDs) were used as the photo-absorber in solar cells. CQDs are made from common organic carbon sources such as glucose, citric acid, and ethanediamine, and act as the semiconductor in a solar cell.[3, 4] The downside of CQDs in solar cells is their low efficiencies (<1%), whereas most modern solar cells produce efficiencies of around 20%. This study used the in-situ growth of CQDs onto the electron transport layer (ETL) of a solid state solar cell through hydrothermal carbonization. By testing cells with varying ETLs, it was found that decreasing the ETL thickness increased efficiency.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2019


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering