The emerging roles of carbon dots in solar photovoltaics: a critical review
Since their discovery over a decade ago, fluorescent carbon nanodots, or C-dots, have seen a drastic rise in various synthetic approaches as well as widespread applicability across diverse research fields. More specifically, carbon nanodots have recently shown promise in a wide range of photovoltaic devices such as inexpensive sensitizer replacements and photoactive material, electrolyte, and counter electrode dopants. While still in their infancy, carbon nanodot-incorporated devices already show encouraging enhancements in device performances, although due to present limiting factors such as poor charge collection and photocurrent generation, there is still much room for further discovery and improvement. Herein, we provide a detailed overview of the current state-of-the-art carbon nanodot incorporated devices (and their limitations) and suggest some paths forward in the hopes of sparking new ideas of how to better synthesize and purify these materials, which will ultimately lead to a more thorough understanding of their properties so that further performance enhancements within carbon nanodot-incorporated solar-energy harvesting systems may be realized.