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Simple and Robust Panchromatic Light Harvesting Antenna Composites via FRET Engineering in Solid State Host Matrices

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journal contribution
posted on 17.09.2018, 00:00 by Raj Pandya, Rowan W. MacQueen, Akshay Rao, Nathaniel J. L. K. Davis
The efficient harvesting of incident solar radiation is an important technical challenge for future world energy and chemical needs. Luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) can efficiently harvest solar energy and concentrate it toward a useful output, such as photovoltaic cells or a photocatalytic reactor. LSCs are planar waveguides doped with luminescent materials that emit light into waveguide modes concentrating it toward the edges. However, large scale LSCs have been limited by the reabsorption of emitted photons. To overcome this, research has turned toward creating artificial light-harvesting systems that spatially and spectrally concentrate light through different donor and acceptor chromophores. Usually these chromophores are covalently linked and synthetically complex. We report a simple, versatile, and highly efficient light-harvesting antenna system consisting of dyes suspended in a PMMA micropowder. These composites absorb light throughout the visible region of the solar spectrum, efficiently funnel the energy via FRET, and then re-emit it in the deep red with a photoluminescent quantum yield (PLQY) > 95%. These composites are extremely robust and easy to process and can be incorporated into a variety of host matrices for applications. This system is characterized via continuous wave and transient spectroscopy. Proof-of-concept-devices and simulations show it to be well suited for use in LSCs.