Nanochemistry and nanomaterials provide numerous opportunities for a new generation of photovoltaics with high solar energy conversion efficiencies at low fabrication cost. Quantum-confined nanomaterials and polymer–inorganic nanocomposites can be tailored to harvest sun light over a broad range of the spectrum, while plasmonic structures offer effective ways to reduce the thickness of light-absorbing layers. Multiple exciton generation, singlet exciton fission, photon down-conversion, and photon up-conversion realized in nanostructures, create significant interest for harvesting underutilized ultraviolet and currently unutilized infrared photons. Nanochemical interface engineering of nanoparticle surfaces and junction-interfaces enable enhanced charge separation and collection. In this review, we survey these recent advances employed to introduce new concepts for improving the solar energy conversion efficiency, and reduce the device fabrication cost in photovoltaic technologies. The review concludes with a summary of contributions already made by nanochemistry. It then describes the challenges and opportunities in photovoltaics where the chemical community can play a vital role.
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