A plurality of quantum dots comprise a first inorganic material, and each quantum dot is coated with a second inorganic material. The coated quantum dots being are in a matrix of a third inorganic material. At least the first and third materials are photoconductive semiconductors. The second material is arranged as a tunneling barrier to require a charge carrier (an electron or a hole) at a base of the tunneling barrier in the third material to perform quantum mechanical tunneling to reach the first material within a respective quantum dot. A first quantum state in each quantum dot is between a conduction band edge and a valence band edge of the third material in which the coated quantum dots are embedded. Wave functions of the first quantum state of the plurality of quantum dots may overlap to form an intermediate band.
 This invention was made with U.S. Government support under Contract No. 339-4012 awarded by U.S. Department of Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The government has certain rights in this invention.