Silicon Quantum Dot-Poly(methyl methacrylate) Nanocomposites with Reduced Light Scattering for Luminescent Solar Concentrators

Samantha K.E. Hill, Ryan Connell, Colin Peterson, Jon Hollinger, Marc A Hillmyer, Uwe R Kortshagen, Vivian E Ferry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Silicon quantum dots with indirect bandgap photoluminescence are promising luminophores for large-area luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs). However, if commercially viable devices are to be achieved, silicon quantum dots must be dispersed within functional, light-guiding matrices such as acrylic slabs without losing their high photoluminescent quantum yield or succumbing to light-scattering agglomeration. With a goal of limiting scattering and producing functional LSC materials, we study silicon quantum dot/poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) bulk polymerized composites. Ray-tracing Monte Carlo modeling predicts that scattering losses are significant for large-area silicon quantum dot LSCs unless the characteristic scattering length is at least as large as the LSC side length. We compare the effect of particle ligand choice on the nanocomposites, using particle loadings ranging from 0.06 to 0.50 wt %. We find that methyl 10-undecenoate functionalized silicon quantum dots in PMMA composites exhibit low levels of particle agglomeration, and thus light scattering, as compared to analogous silicon quantum dots capped with 1-dodecene. As a result, these ester-Si/PMMA composites show an improvement in light guiding compared to the alkane-Si composites, which is beneficial for future LSC applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-180
Number of pages11
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 16 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported partially by the National Science Foundation under award number 1553234 and the UMN 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. We acknowledge partial support by 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 UMN MRSEC program under Award Number DMR-1420013. Part of this work was conducted in the Minnesota Nano Center, which is supported by the National Science Foundation through the National Nano Coordinated Infrastructure Network (NNCI) under Award Number ECCS-1542202. S.K.E.H. was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program under award 00039202. J.H. was supported by an NRSEC Postdoctoral Fellowship. The authors thank Jacob Held and K. Andre Mkhoyan for TEM measurements and Ian Slauch for angle-resolved solar irradiance calculations for Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 American Chemical Society.


  • light scattering
  • luminescent solar concentrator
  • nanocomposite
  • poly(methyl methacrylate)
  • silicon quantum dot

MRSEC Support

  • Partial


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