The efficiency of photocurrent extraction was studied directly inside operating Colloidal Quantum Dot (CQD) photovoltaic devices. A model was derived from first principles for a thin film p-n junction with a linearly spatially dependent electric field. Using this model, we were able to clarify the origins of recent improvement in CQD solar cell performance. From current-voltage diode characteristics under 1 sun conditions, we extracted transport lengths ranging from 39 nm to 86 nm for these materials. Characterization of the intensity dependence of photocurrent extraction revealed that the dominant loss mechanism limiting the transport length is trap-mediated recombination. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.