Fluorescent Waveguide Lattices for Enhanced Light Harvesting and Solar Cell Performance

Nannan Ding, Ian D. Hosein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present the properties and performance of fluorescent waveguide lattices as coatings for solar cells, designed to address the significant mismatch between the solar cell’s spectral response range and the solar spectrum. Using arrays of microscale visible light optical beams transmitted through photoreactive polymer resins comprising acrylate and silicone monomers and fluorescein o,o′-dimethacrylate comonomer, we photopolymerize well-structured films with single and multiple waveguide lattices. The materials exhibited bright green-yellow fluorescence emission through down-conversion of blue-UV excitation and light redirection from the dye emission and waveguide lattice structure. This enables the films to collect a broader spectrum of light, spanning UV-vis-NIR over an exceptionally wide angular range of ±70°. When employed as encapsulant coatings on commercial silicon solar cells, the polymer waveguide lattices exhibited significant enhancements in solar cell current density. Below 400 nm, the primary mode of enhancement is through down-conversion and light redirection from the dye emission and collection by the waveguides. Above 400 nm, the primary modes of enhancement were a combination of down-conversion, wide-angle light collection, and light redirection from the dye emission and collection by the waveguides. Waveguide lattices with higher dye concentrations produced more well-defined structures better suited for current generation in encapsulated solar cells. Under standard AM 1.5 G irradiation, we observed nominal average current density increases of 0.7 and 1.87 mA/cm2 for single waveguide lattices and two intersecting lattices, respectively, across the full ±70° range and reveal optimal dye concentrations and suitable lattice structures for solar cell performance. Our findings demonstrate the significant potential of incorporating down-converting fluorescent dyes in polymer waveguide lattices for improving the current spectral and angular response of solar cell technologies toward increasing clean energy in the energy grid.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6646-6655
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Energy Materials
Volume6
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 26 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • coatings
  • energy conversion
  • polymer blends
  • solar cells
  • waveguides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Electrochemistry
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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