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The Luminescent Solar Concentrator


Batchelder, John Samuel (1982) The Luminescent Solar Concentrator. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/W5W7-9660.


The Luminescent Solar Concentrator (LSC) allows sunlight to be concentrated through the use of light pipe trapping of luminescence. Such concentrators do not require tracking, and they can reduce the cost of solar energy conversion by reducing the required area of photovoltaic cells. We have conducted the following experimental and theoretical investigations in order to optimize the LSC's performance.

The spectral characteristics of 18 organic laser dyes are studied for their applicability as luminescing centers. The spectral homogeneity and self-absorption characteristics of representative dyes are examined in detail. The relative spectral homogeneity of such dyes is shown to depend upon the surrounding material using narrow band laser excitation. We develop three independent techniques for measuring self-absorption rates; these are time-resolved emission, steady state polarization anisotropy, and spectral convolution. Prototype devices are tested for performance, and the componant dyes are tested for stability to solar exposure.

A model is developed which predicts the efficiency and gain of and LSC from the spectroscopic characteristics of its components. A critical optical density (CODE) is assigned to the dyes surveyed which predicts the self-absorption limited performance for a particular dye. The maximum efficiency of an LSC is found using a simple model and the experimentally measured Stokes shift required to minimize self-absorption.

We find that the performance of LSCs which achieve high light concentration is primarily limited by self-absorption and by photodegradation. The maximum efficiency possible is about 9% in such systems, and present devices can achieve about 3%. A typical lifetime for an LSC using organic laser dyes due to photodegradation is on the order of a month.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Applied Physics
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Major Option:Applied Physics
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Zewail, Ahmed H.
Thesis Committee:
  • Zewail, Ahmed H. (chair)
  • Bridges, William B.
  • McCaldin, James Oeland
  • Murray, Bruce C.
  • Rutledge, David B.
Defense Date:4 August 1981
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-11152004-162115
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:4566
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:17 Nov 2004
Last Modified:14 May 2020 00:04

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