Poly(methyl methacrylate) Films with High Concentrations of Silicon Quantum Dots for Visibly Transparent Luminescent Solar Concentrators

Samantha K.E. Hill, Ryan Connell, Jacob Held, Colin Peterson, Lorraine Francis, Marc A. Hillmyer, Vivian E. Ferry, Uwe Kortshagen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Silicon quantum dots (Si QDs) are attractive, nontoxic luminophores for luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). Here, we produced Si QD/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) films on glass by doctor-blading polymer solutions and achieved films with low light scattering at an order of magnitude higher Si QD weight fraction than has been achieved previously in the bulk. We suggest that the fast solidification rate of films as compared to slow bulk polymerization is an enabling factor in avoiding large agglomerates within the nanocomposites. Scanning electron microscopy confirmed that ∼100 nm or larger QD agglomerates exist in light-scattering films, and photoluminescence intensity measurements show that light scattering, if present, significantly reduces waveguiding efficiencies for LSCs. Nonscattering films fabricated in this work exhibit high ultraviolet absorption (>80%) paired with high visible transmission (>87%) and minimal visible haze (∼1%), making them well suited for semitransparent coatings for LSCs realized as solar harvesting windows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4572-4578
Number of pages7
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 29 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported partially by the National Science Foundation under Award Number 1553234 and the MRSEC program under Award Number DMR-1420013. Partial support was received from a Discovery grant from the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota under Award Number DG-0002-17. The authors also acknowledge partial support from the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (M.L. 2018, Chp. 214, Art. 4, Sec. 02, Subd. 07a). Part of this work was carried out in the College of Science and Engineering Characterization Facility, University of Minnesota, which has received capital funding from the NSF through the MRSEC program under Award Number DMR-1420013. S.K.E.H. was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program under award 00039202. The authors also thank Wieslaw J. Suszynski for his helpful advice in preparing film coatings, Yaling Liu for assistance with quantum yield measurements, and John Keil for assistance with calculations.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2020 American Chemical Society.


  • coating
  • luminescent solar concentrators
  • nanocomposite
  • poly(methyl methacrylate)
  • silicon quantum dots
  • thin film

How much support was provided by MRSEC?

  • Partial

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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