Germanium nanoparticles with non-diamond core structures for solar energy conversion
Multiple Exciton Generation (MEG) in nanoparticle-based solar cells promises to increase the cell-efficiency above the Shockley–Queisser limit. However, utilizing MEG is hampered by the Quantum Confinement Dilemma (QCD): quantum confinement advantageously increases the effective Coulomb interaction, but at the same time disadvantageously increases the electronic gap. Using ab initio calculations we showed that germanium nanoparticles with core structures of high pressure phases of bulk Ge can transcend the QCD, by simultaneously lowering gaps and increasing the MEG rates above those of NPs with a cubic diamond core. Synthesis routes to obtain Ge colloidal ST12 core structures are available and hence we propose that exploring ST12 Ge NPs for MEG solar cells is a promising research effort.