|Quantum dot LSC devices under ultraviolet illumination.|
"The key accomplishment is the demonstration of large-area luminescent solar concentrators that use a new generation of specially engineered quantum dots," said lead researcher Victor Klimov of the Centre for Advanced Solar Photophysics (CASP) at Los Alamos.Quantum dots are ultra-small bits of semiconductor matter that can be synthesized with nearly atomic precision via modern methods of colloidal chemistry. Their emission color can be tuned by simply varying their dimensions. Color tunability is combined with high emission efficiencies approaching 100 percent. These properties have recently become the basis of a new technology -- quantum dot displays -- employed, for example, in the newest generation of the Kindle Fire ™ e-reader.
A luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) is a photon management device, representing a slab of transparent material that contains highly efficient emitters such as dye molecules or quantum dots. Sunlight absorbed in the slab is re-radiated at longer wavelengths and guided towards the slab edge equipped with a solar cell.Klimov explained, "The LSC serves as a light-harvesting antenna which concentrates solar radiation collected from a large area onto a much smaller solar cell, and this increases its power output.""LSCs are especially attractive because in addition to gains in efficiency, they can enable new interesting concepts such as photovoltaic windows that can transform house facades into large-area energy generation units," said Sergio Brovelli, who worked at Los Alamos until 2012 and is now a faculty member at UNIMIB.Because of highly efficient, color-tunable emission and solution processability, quantum dots are attractive materials for use in inexpensive, large-area LSCs. One challenge, however, is an overlap between emission and absorption bands in the dots, which leads to significant light losses due to the dots re-absorbing some of the light they produce.
To overcome this problem the Los Alamos and UNIMIB researchers have developed LSCs based on quantum dots with artificially induced large separation between emission and absorption bands (called a large Stokes shift).These "Stokes-shift" engineered quantum dots represent cadmium selenide/cadmium sulfide (CdSe/CdS) structures in which light absorption is dominated by an ultra-thick outer shell of CdS, while emission occurs from the inner core of a narrower-gap CdSe. The separation of light-absorption and light-emission functions between the two different parts of the nanostructure results in a large spectral shift of emission with respect to absorption, which greatly reduces losses to re-absorption.
"Giant" but still tiny, engineered dots
|Concept of a Solar Window|
Despite their high transparency, the fabricated structures showed significant enhancement of solar flux with the concentration factor of more than four. These exciting results indicate that "Stokes-shift-engineered" quantum dots represent a promising materials platform. It may enable the creation of solution processable large-area LSCs with independently tunable emission and absorption spectra.
Sadly this all still just an idea and won't be in the mainstream market for a few more years. The idea though is revolutionary. You could plug in your appliances into your WINDOW. Ideal for Kitchen windows, plug in your kettle and make a lovely cuppa powered by the sun, bliss. For more information on the Solar Window click here. Also there are many different companies trying to get their own spin on the Solar Window e.g. New Energy claim they are making a Solar Window that can out perform any commercial Solar Panel by 10 fold. Clearly in the foreseeable future not only will we see Solar Windows hitting the market but a whole range of them specially designed in their own unique ways!
I apologise for the poor quality of this blog post. It was copied from our current, new and improved blog that is here. It is updated daily and more often than not features solar panel news. I know there are still a few stragglers reading this blog and I thank you but, if you want it recently and updated then Home Improvement Blog will be right up your street! However if you are afraid of change then I will endevour to maintain this blog to the best of my ability although it will be irregular and late, I apologise in advance!
I bid you adieu my dear Sirs and Madams!