Physics Division Research Highlights

Luminescent solar concentrators

EES CoverLuminescent solar concentrators (LSC) represent one promising approach to dramatically increase utilization of solar energy because they can capture sunlight — including diffuse light — over a large area using low-cost materials and redirect that light onto much smaller solar cells. Moreover, the solar spectrum can be segmented by using stacked concentrators and bandgap-matched photo-voltaics to increase conversion efficiency. The parameter space in luminescent solar concentrator design, however, is vast, and optimizing their performance empirically is a daunting challenge.

Argonne physicists have developed a simulation-based approach that can focus experimental efforts in both materials and device design. The analyses show that a single layer configuration is far from optimal and adding a second layer in the LSC with wavelength shifted material in the near infrared region significantly increases the power output, while the gain in power by adding a third layer is relatively small. The results of this study provide a theoretical upper limit to the performance of an LSC and give guidance for the properties required for luminescent materials, such as quantum nanocrystals, to operate efficiently in planar LSC configurations. With such guidance in hand, synthetic work will be more efficient and performance maximized.


LSC layout



Optimizing luminescent solar con-centrator design, by Hermilo Hernandez-Noyola, David H. Potterveld, Roy J. Holt and Seth B. Darling. Energy & Environmental Science, Issue 2, 2012.


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