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Proceedings Paper

A comparison of silicon and germanium photovoltaic power converters for power over fibre
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Paper Abstract

In this study, we compare the practical implementation of both silicon and germanium Photovoltaic Power Converters (PPCs). Simulations have previously shown that silicon PPCs can produce up to 43% optical to electrical power conversion and germanium PPCs can produce conversion efficiencies as high as 22% when illuminated by 980nm light. Moreover, germanium can produce conversion efficiencies of up to 36% when illuminated by 1550nm light. Here, we compare these results to real power conversion efficiencies of off-the-shelf silicon and germanium photodiodes, producing 9.9% and 8.0% conversion efficiencies, respectively for 980nm. Furthermore, we show germanium produces conversion efficiencies up to 14.6% under illumination of 1550nm light. A discussion of the limitations is made. The results show there is a peak efficiency point corresponding to a specific input optical power. We also show that the power over fibre signal can be successfully combined with communications signals, using wavelength division multiplexing, and that the multiplexed signals can be separated without significant loss of signal, or power conversion efficiency. In addition, we investigate the affects of free space problems, such as divergence and misalignment, in both the lateral and longitudinal directions. As expected, optical alignment plays a significant role in producing maximum power conversion.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 December 2011
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 8204, Smart Nano-Micro Materials and Devices, 820410 (23 December 2011); doi: 10.1117/12.903294
Show Author Affiliations
Gary Allwood, Edith Cowan Univ. (Australia)
Graham Wild, Edith Cowan Univ. (Australia)
Steven Hinckley, Edith Cowan Univ. (Australia)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8204:
Smart Nano-Micro Materials and Devices
Saulius Juodkazis; Min Gu, Editor(s)

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