Dye alignment in luminescent solar concentrators: I. Vertical alignment for improved waveguide coupling.C. L. Mulder, P. D. Reusswig, A. M. Velázquez, H. Kim, C. Rotschild, and M. A. Baldo. 2010
Optics Express, Vol. 18, Issue S1, pp. A79-A90, 2010.(IF= 3.59)
Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) use dye molecules embedded in a flat-plate waveguide to absorb solar radiation. Ideally, the dyes re-emit the absorbed light into waveguide modes that are coupled to solar cells. But some photons are always lost, re-emitted through the face of the LSC and coupled out of the waveguide. In this work, we improve the fundamental efficiency limit of an LSC by controlling the orientation of dye molecules using a liquid crystalline host. First, we present a theoretical model for the waveguide trapping efficiency as a function of dipole orientation. Next, we demonstrate an increase in the trapping efficiency from 66% for LSCs with no dye alignment to 81% for a LSC with vertical dye alignment. Finally, we show that the enhanced trapping efficiency is preserved for geometric gains up to 30, and demonstrate that an external diffuser can alleviate weak absorption in LSCs with vertically-aligned dyes.