MMaterialsgateNEWS 2012/01/24

Energy: Researchers' Refinement Increases Solar Concentrator Efficiency

A team of UC Merced professors and students discovered that changing the shape of a solar concentrator significantly increases its efficiency, bringing its use closer to reality
A team of researchers at the University of California, Merced, has redesigned luminescent solar concentrators to be more efficient at sending sunlight to solar cells. The advancement could be an important breakthrough for solar energy harvesting, said UC Merced physics Professor Sayantani Ghosh, who led the project. "We tweaked the traditional flat design for luminescent solar concentrators and made them into cylinders," Ghosh said. "The results of this architectural redesign surprised us, as it significantly improves their efficiency." The main problem preventing luminescent concentrators from being used commercially is that they have high rates of self-absorption, Ghosh said, meaning they absorb a significant amount of the light they produce instead of transporting it to the solar cells. The research team showed the problem can be addressed by changing the shape of the concentrator. They discovered a hollow cylindrical solar concentrator is a better design compared with a flat concentrator or a solid cylinder concentrator. The hollow cylinders absorb more sunlight while having lower self-absorption losses. Luminiscent solar concentrators are designed to absorb solar radiation over a broad range of colors and re-emit it over a narrower range (for example, only red), a process known as down-converting. This light is transported to solar cells for photocurrent generation. The quantum dots embedded in the concentrator are the materials that carry out

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Dr.-Ing. Christoph Konetschny, Founder & Owner of Materialsgate
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