Luminescent Solar Concentrators

Chris Haines

Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) have the potential to significantly reduce cost and improve operational efficiency in photovoltaic devices. A number of the hurdles that stalled the development of the technology when it was first proposed have been addressed by modern materials such as highly fluorescent and photostable organic dyes and spectrally tuneable quantum dots.

Work currently being undertaken in this project involves taking experimental luminescence measurements and applying ray trace modelling to better understand the mechanisms behind LSC performance. Factors such as spectral properties of the harvesting material, reabsorption effects and device geometry are being investigated. These results are then used to point the way to the most effective development directions for LSC commercialisation.

Materials investigated include perylene diimide and diketopyrrolopyrrole dyes, and a range of novel light harvesting polymer systems. So far it has been demonstrated that up to 63% of the luminescence (and up to 30% of the total incident light intensity) can be wave-guided to the edges of the substrate in the simple LSCs studied.

Microscope slide LSC

Figure 1: Microscope slide LSC displaying concentrated wave-guided emission at the edges of the device.

Output of the ray-trace model

Figure 2: Output of the ray-trace model used to investigate the performance parameters of the LSC systems studied.