Solar energy conversion will play a key role in our transition to a carbon-neutral society. However, single junction photovoltaic (PV) cells fail to achieve their theoretical efficiency due to an inability to harness all wavelengths of the solar spectrum. Spectral losses may be overcome through the addition of a spectral converter coating to the surface of a finished PV cell, which, through a photoluminescence process, converts solar photons into wavelengths suitable for use. Nonetheless, spectral converters currently fail to deliver their promise to significantly boost PV cell performance due to the difficulties of translating luminescent molecules (lumophores) from solution into efficient solid-state materials.
By considering the lumophore-host material as an integrated unit, rather than discrete components, in SPECTRACON, I take a radically new approach to the design of spectral converters. Organic-inorganic hybrid polymer hosts incorporating covalently-grafted lumophores will be rationally engineered to deliver spectral converters with the tailored optical, structural, viscoelastic and mechanical properties needed for high performance solid-state conversion, which has so far been unattainable. Using cheap materials and a solution-based process suitable for scalable manufacturing, these spectral converters will be integrated with PV cells to realise next generation luminescent solar devices which display record levels of efficiency and reduced costs.
A scientific breakthrough that demonstrates efficient solar spectral conversion in the solid-state would enable immediate deployment of luminescent solar devices to the commercial market, thus accelerating progress to an all-renewables society and delivering unprecedented impact on the quality of life of future generations. Moreover, the fundamental knowledge gleaned on the design of efficient solid-state emitters will open up new frontiers for application in light-emitting displays, optical storage and sensing.
Field of science
- /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
- /engineering and technology/materials engineering/coating and films
- /engineering and technology/materials engineering
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/energy conversion
- /engineering and technology/environmental engineering/energy and fuels/renewable energy/solar energy
- /natural sciences/physical sciences/theoretical physics/particles/photons
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