The luminescent species absorbs and re-emits incident solar radiation, which is total internally reflected to the edges of the plastic sheet. Thin strips of photovoltaic material at the edge of these sheets convert the concentrated light into electricity.

Colourful Concentration

The luminescent species absorbs and re-emits incident solar radiation, which is guided to the edges of the plastic sheet by total internally reflection. Thin strips of photovoltaic material at the edge of these sheets convert the concentrated light into electricity. Please click on the image to expand.

Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSCs)

What are Luminescent Solar Concentrators?

A luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) is a device that uses a thin sheet of material to trap solar radiation over a large area, before directing the energy (through luminescent emission) to cells mounted on the thin edges of the material layer. The thin sheet of material typically consists of a polymer (such as polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)), doped with luminescent species such as organic dyes, quantum dots or rare earth complexes.

The main motivation for implementing LSCs is to replace a large area of expensive solar cells in a standard flat-plate PV panel, with a cheaper alternative. Therefore there is both a  reduction in both the cost of the module (£/W) and the solar power produced (£/kWh). A key advantage of over typical concentrating systems is that LSCs can collect both direct and diffuse solar radiation. Therefore tracking of the sun is not required. LSCs are excellent candidates for building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) and for the cloudier northern European climates.

What are the challenges for Luminescent Solar Concentrators?

The development of LSCs aims to create a working structure that performs close to the theoretical maximum efficiency. An ideal LSC would have the following properties: A broad absorption range to utalise the solar spectrum efficiently; 100% emission of light from the absorbing luminescent species; A large shift between the absorption and emission spectra to reduce absorption losses; and long term stability. 

 

How are these challenges being addressed by SISER researchers?

Research into the development of LSC PV is being carried out at Heriot-Watt University. The research includes analysis of organic dye species and optimisation of the structural parameters of the module. Joint work between the University of Edinburgh and Heriot-Watt University is investigating novel luminescent materials including rare earth complexes consisting of lanthanide ions. Such complexes offer minimal reabsoprtion, which is a major loss mechanism for LSCs. 

 

SISER researchers with interest in this area are: Prof. Susan Roaf and Dr Neil Robertson

Full details of all SISER researchers are found on the SISER People Page

 

Publications

  1. Michael G Debije, Paul P C Verbunt, Pradeep J Nadkarni, Suresh Velate, Kankan Bhaumik, Sankaran Nedumbamana, Brenda C Rowan, Bryce S Richards and Theo L Hoeks. Promising fluorescent dye for solar energy conversion based on a perylene perinone. Applied Optics 50(2):163-169, 2011.
    BibTeX

    @article{Promising fluorescent dye for solar energy conversion based on a perylene perinone,
    	author = "Debije, Michael G. and Verbunt, Paul P. C. and Nadkarni, Pradeep J. and Velate, Suresh and Bhaumik, Kankan and Nedumbamana, Sankaran and Rowan, Brenda C. and Richards, Bryce S. and Hoeks, Theo L.",
    	title = "Promising fluorescent dye for solar energy conversion based on a perylene perinone",
    	journal = "Applied Optics",
    	volume = 50,
    	number = 2,
    	pages = "163-169",
    	note = "Times Cited: 5 5",
    	year = 2011
    }
    
  2. Michael G Debije, Paul P C Verbunt, Brenda C Rowan, Bryce S Richards and Theo L Hoeks. Measured surface loss from luminescent solar concentrator waveguides. Applied Optics 47(36):6763-6768, 2008.
    BibTeX

    @article{Measured surface loss from luminescent solar concentrator waveguides,
    	author = "Debije, Michael G. and Verbunt, Paul P. C. and Rowan, Brenda C. and Richards, Bryce S. and Hoeks, Theo L.",
    	title = "Measured surface loss from luminescent solar concentrator waveguides",
    	journal = "Applied Optics",
    	volume = 47,
    	number = 36,
    	pages = "6763-6768",
    	note = "Times Cited: 17 17",
    	year = 2008
    }
    
  3. K R McIntosh, N Yamada and B S Richards. Theoretical comparison of cylindrical and square-planar luminescent solar concentrators. Applied Physics B-Lasers and Optics 88(2):285-290, 2007.
    BibTeX

    @article{Theoretical comparison of cylindrical and square-planar luminescent solar concentrators,
    	author = "McIntosh, K. R. and Yamada, N. and Richards, B. S.",
    	title = "Theoretical comparison of cylindrical and square-planar luminescent solar concentrators",
    	journal = "Applied Physics B-Lasers and Optics",
    	volume = 88,
    	number = 2,
    	pages = "285-290",
    	note = "Times Cited: 10 10",
    	year = 2007
    }
    
  4. Omar Moudam, Brenda C Rowan, Mohammed Alamiry, Patricia Richardson, Bryce S Richards, Anita C Jones and Neil Robertson. Europium complexes with high total photoluminescence quantum yields in solution and in PMMA. Chemical Communications (43):6649-6651, 2009.
    BibTeX

    @article{Europium complexes with high total photoluminescence quantum yields in solution and in PMMA,
    	author = "Moudam, Omar and Rowan, Brenda C. and Alamiry, Mohammed and Richardson, Patricia and Richards, Bryce S. and Jones, Anita C. and Robertson, Neil",
    	title = "Europium complexes with high total photoluminescence quantum yields in solution and in PMMA",
    	journal = "Chemical Communications",
    	number = 43,
    	pages = "6649-6651",
    	note = "Times Cited: 36 Robertson, Neil/E-6604-2011 37",
    	year = 2009
    }
    
  5. Brenda C Rowan, Lindsay R Wilson and Bryce S Richards. Advanced Material Concepts for Luminescent Solar Concentrators. Ieee Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics 14(5):1312-1322, 2008.
    BibTeX

    @article{Advanced Material Concepts for Luminescent Solar Concentrators,
    	author = "Rowan, Brenda C. and Wilson, Lindsay R. and Richards, Bryce S.",
    	title = "Advanced Material Concepts for Luminescent Solar Concentrators",
    	journal = "Ieee Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics",
    	volume = 14,
    	number = 5,
    	pages = "1312-1322",
    	note = "Times Cited: 63 63",
    	year = 2008
    }
    
  6. L R Wilson and B S Richards. Measurement method for photoluminescent quantum yields of fluorescent organic dyes in polymethyl methacrylate for luminescent solar concentrators. Applied Optics 48(2):212-220, 2009.
    BibTeX

    @article{Measurement method for photoluminescent quantum yields of fluorescent organic dyes in polymethyl methacrylate for luminescent solar concentrators,
    	author = "Wilson, L. R. and Richards, B. S.",
    	title = "Measurement method for photoluminescent quantum yields of fluorescent organic dyes in polymethyl methacrylate for luminescent solar concentrators",
    	journal = "Applied Optics",
    	volume = 48,
    	number = 2,
    	pages = "212-220",
    	note = "Times Cited: 32 32",
    	year = 2009
    }
    
  7. Lindsay R Wilson, Brenda C Rowan, Neil Robertson, Omar Moudam, Anita C Jones and Bryce S Richards. Characterization and reduction of reabsorption losses in luminescent solar concentrators. Applied Optics 49(9):1651-1661, 2010.
    BibTeX

    @article{Characterization and reduction of reabsorption losses in luminescent solar concentrators,
    	author = "Wilson, Lindsay R. and Rowan, Brenda C. and Robertson, Neil and Moudam, Omar and Jones, Anita C. and Richards, Bryce S.",
    	title = "Characterization and reduction of reabsorption losses in luminescent solar concentrators",
    	journal = "Applied Optics",
    	volume = 49,
    	number = 9,
    	pages = "1651-1661",
    	note = "Times Cited: 21 Robertson, Neil/E-6604-2011 21",
    	year = 2010
    }
    
  8. Ying Yang, Ifor D W Samuel and Graham A Turnbull. The Development of Luminescent Concentrators for Pumping Organic Semiconductor Lasers. Advanced Materials 21(31):3205-+, 2009.
    BibTeX

    @article{The Development of Luminescent Concentrators for Pumping Organic Semiconductor Lasers,
    	author = "Yang, Ying and Samuel, Ifor D. W. and Turnbull, Graham A.",
    	title = "The Development of Luminescent Concentrators for Pumping Organic Semiconductor Lasers",
    	journal = "Advanced Materials",
    	volume = 21,
    	number = 31,
    	pages = "3205-+",
    	note = "Times Cited: 8 8",
    	year = 2009
    }