Designing spectrally-selective mirrors for use in luminescent solar concentrators

Ryan Connell, Christian Pinnell, Vivian E. Ferry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Spectrally-selective mirrors improve the performance of luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) by trapping emitted light within the waveguide. However, this beneficial property comes with a spectral restriction on incident sunlight that enters the concentrator. Especially for luminophores with overlap between the absorption and emission bands, design of the spectrally-selective mirrors requires a tradeoff between transmission of incident sunlight and trapping of luminescent photons. In this paper, we explore how the design of a spectrally-selective top mirror changes for LSCs containing luminophores of varying loading fractions, quantum yield, and overlap between the absorption and emission spectra, as well as LSCs with different back reflectors and lateral sizes. Using CdSe/CdS core/shell nanocrystals as the luminophore, we find that specific conditions favor different mirror designs. Mirrors designed to trap luminescent light have higher predicted performance than mirrors designed for sunlight transmission when the luminophore quantum yield is greater than 0.85, the luminophore optical density is less than 1.4 at 450 nm, the lateral size of the concentrator is greater than 10 cm, or there is low overlap between the luminophore absorption and emission. Mirrors optimized for either transmission or luminescence trapping have comparable performance for quantum yields less than 0.85, and the other conditions favor mirrors optimized for light transmission. For a LSC with unity quantum yield, a lateral size of 1 m × 1 m, and a mirror designed to trap luminescent light, a concentration factor of 37× is possible, as compared to 10× for a LSC with an open top. This research indicates the importance of tailoring the design of the spectrally-selective top mirror to the properties of the luminophore and LSC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024009
JournalJournal of Optics (United Kingdom)
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation under award number 1553234.

Funding Information:
We acknowledge support from the National Science Foundation under award number 1553234. We are grateful to Dr Mayank Puri for providing the experimental absorption and emission spectra used in this work.

Keywords

  • luminescent solar concentrators
  • nanocrystals
  • photovoltaics
  • quantum dots
  • spectrally-selective mirrors

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