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From photoluminescence to thermal emission: Thermally-enhanced PL (TEPL) for efficient PV (Conference Presentation)
Author(s): Assaf Manor; Nimrod Kruger; Leopoldo L. Martin; Carmel Rotschild
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Paper Abstract

The Shockley-Queisser efficiency limit of ~40% for single-junction photovoltaic (PV) cells is mainly caused by the heat dissipation accompanying the process of electro-chemical potential generation. Concepts such as solar thermo-photovoltaics (STPV) aim to harvest this heat loss by the use of a primary absorber which acts as a mediator between the sun and the PV, spectrally shaping the light impinging on the cell. However, this approach is challenging to realize due to the high operating temperatures of above 2000K required in order to generate high thermal emission fluxes. After over thirty years of STPV research, the record conversion efficiency for STPV device stands at 3.2% for 1285K operating temperature. In contrast, we recently demonstrated how thermally-enhanced photoluminescence (TEPL) is an optical heat-pump, in which photoluminescence is thermally blue-shifted upon heating while the number of emitted photons is conserved. This process generates energetic photon-rates which are comparable to thermal emission in significantly reduced temperatures, opening the way for a TEPL based energy converter. In such a device, a photoluminescent low bandgap absorber replaces the STPV thermal absorber. The thermalization heat induces a temperature rise and a blue-shifted emission, which is efficiently harvested by a higher bandgap PV. We show that such an approach can yield ideal efficiencies of 70% at 1140K, and realistic efficiencies of almost 50% at moderate concentration levels. As an experimental proof-of-concept, we demonstrate 1.4% efficient TEPL energy conversion of an Nd3+ system coupled to a GaAs cell, at 600K.

Paper Details

Date Published: 2 November 2016
PDF: 1 pages
Proc. SPIE 9955, Nonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XIII—Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Nonimaging Optics, 995509 (2 November 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2237114
Show Author Affiliations
Assaf Manor, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Nimrod Kruger, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Leopoldo L. Martin, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)
Carmel Rotschild, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Israel)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9955:
Nonimaging Optics: Efficient Design for Illumination and Solar Concentration XIII—Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of Nonimaging Optics
Roland Winston; Jeffrey M. Gordon, Editor(s)

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From photoluminescence to thermal emission: Thermally-enhanced PL (TEPL) for efficient PV (Conference Presentation)



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