Optical Coupling Mechanisms for Solar Efficiency Enhancement through Light Trapping

  • Adam R. Silvernail

Student thesis: Master's Thesis

Abstract

The efficiency of solar cells is directly linked to the quality of light management for the overall energy harvesting system. As an extension of concentration theory, light trapping utilizes the available angular ├ętendue to recycle unabsorbed photons that would ordinarily be rejected from a photovoltaic system, leading to an overall efficiency enhancement. In order to achieve optimum light trapping, an angular tracking mechanism must be implemented to maintain a limited system acceptance angle. By controlling the thermal, electrical, optical and structural properties of materials, alternative tracking mechanisms provide the benefits of light trapping without the need for mechanical tracking. A slab waveguide concentrator system is presented as a case study, using the phase transition of paraffin wax to spatially control reflection and transmission of the light trap. A hybrid lens-waveguide system is designed to achieve maximum light trapping under various angular constraints, comparing simulation results with a conventional slab waveguide under identical conditions.
Date of AwardDec 2013
Original languageAmerican English
SupervisorMarco Stefancich (Supervisor)

Keywords

  • Solar Cells
  • Solar Energy
  • Light Trapping
  • Simulations
  • Light Management.

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