Carbon quantum dots (CDs) are a new class of fluorescent carbonaceous nanomaterials that were casually discovered in 2004. Since then, they have become object of great interest in the scientific community because of their peculiar optical properties (e.g., size-dependent and excitation wavelength-dependent fluorescence), which make them very similar to the well-known semiconductor quantum dots and suitable for application in photovoltaic devices (PVs). In fact, with appropriate structural engineering, it is possible to modulate CDs photoluminescence properties, band gap, and energy levels in order to realize the band matching suitable to enable the desired directional flow of charge carriers within the PV device architecture in which they are implanted. Considering the latest developments, in the present short review, the employment of CDs in organic photovoltaic devices (OPVs) will be summarized, in order to study the role played by these nanomaterials in the improvement of the performances of the devices. After a first brief summary of the strategies of structural engineering of CDs and the effects on their optical properties, the attention will be devoted to the recent highlights of CDs application in organic solar cells (OSCs) and in dye sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), in order to guide the users towards the full exploitation of the use of these nanomaterials in such OPV devices.
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