Conference paper

Monte Carlo simulations of quantum dot solar concentrators: ray tracing based on fluorescence mapping

One promising application of semiconductor nanostructures in the field of photovoltaics might be quantum dot solar concentrators. Quantum dot containing nanocomposite thin films are synthesized at EPFL-LESO by a low cost sol-gel process. In order to study the potential of the novel planar photoluminescent concentrators, reliable computer simulations are needed. A computer code for ray tracing simulations of quantum dot solar concentrators has been developed at EPFL-LESO on the basis of Monte Carlo methods that are applied to polarization-dependent reflection/transmission at interfaces, photon absorption by the semiconductor nanocrystals and photoluminescent reemission. The software allows importing measured or theoretical absorption/reemission spectra describing the photoluminescent properties of the quantum dots. Hereby the properties of photoluminescent reemission are described by a set of emission spectra depending on the energy of the incoming photon, allowing to simulate the photoluminescent emission using the inverse function method. By our simulations, the importance of two main factors is revealed, an emission spectrum matched to the spectral efficiency curve of the photovoltaic cell, and a large Stokes shift, which is advantageous for the lateral energy transport. No significant energy losses are implied when the quantum dots are contained within a nanocomposite coating instead of being dispersed in the entire volume of the pane. Together with the knowledge on the optoelectronical properties of suitable photovoltaic cells, the simulations allow to predict the total efficiency of the envisaged concentrating PV systems, and to optimize photoluminescent emission frequencies, optical densities, and pane dimensions. Keywords: quantum dots, photoluminescence, fluorescent planar solar concentrators, photovoltaics, solar cells, Monte Carlo simulations, ray tracing, polarization


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