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Doped quantum dot luminescent solar concentrators

Christian S. (Christian Soren) Erickson

(Borosilicate Microspheres: 50, 100, 150, 1000 um)


Optical concentration has the potential to lower the cost of solar energy conversion by reducing photovoltaic cell area and increasing photovoltaic efficiency. Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) offer an attractive approach to combined spectral and spatial concentration of both specular and diffuse light without expensive solar tracking, but they have been plagued by luminophore self-absorption losses which limit them from achieving their full potential. This thesis introduces doped semiconductor nanocrystals as a new class of phosphors for use in LSCs. In proof-of-concept experiments, visibly transparent, ultraviolet-selective luminescent solar concentrators have been prepared using colloidal Mn2+-doped II-VI semiconductor nanocrystals that show no luminescence reabsorption. For the first time LSCs are not bounded by luminophore self-absorption but by the transparency of the waveguide itself. Future directions in the use of colloidal doped nanocrystals as robust, solution processable, spectrum-shifting phosphors for luminescent solar concentration on the large scales required for practical application of this technology are discussed.