Quantum photocell: using quantum coherence to reduce radiative recombination and increase efficiency. Academic Article uri icon


  • The fundamental limit to photovoltaic efficiency is widely thought to be radiative recombination which balances radiative absorption. We here show that it is possible to break detailed balance via quantum coherence, as in the case of lasing without inversion and the photo-Carnot quantum heat engine. This yields, in principle, a quantum limit to photovoltaic operation which can exceed the classical one. The present work is in complete accord with the laws of thermodynamics.

published proceedings

  • Phys Rev Lett

author list (cited authors)

  • Scully, M. O.

citation count

  • 196

complete list of authors

  • Scully, Marlan O

publication date

  • May 2010