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MEM-C IRG-1: Quantum-Cutting Nanocrystals in High-Efficiency Monolithic Bilayer Luminescent Solar Concentrators

We are developing Yb3+-doped CsPbX3 nanocrystals that can convert the energy from absorption of single blue photons into the energy of emission of pairs of near-infrared photons – quantum cutting. We are also developing a new and unique technology that partners such quantum-cutting materials with conventional luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) to massively reduce thermalization losses in LSCs. Our so-called monolithic bilayer LSC is a unique technology that does not require complex wiring or current matching. Using a combination of experimental data and models, we predict that monolithic bilayer LSCs will improve the performance of best-in-class NC LSCs by at least 19%.

Nanocrystal (NC) luminescent solar concentrators (LSCs) represent a promising clean-energy technology capable of concentrating direct and diffuse light to reduce the area of photovoltaic (PV) cells – which are energetically costly to manufacture – required to meet energy demands. We have been developing Yb3+-doped CsPbX3 (X = Cl, Br) perovskite NCs that efficiently convert single high-energy photons into pairs of low-energy photons, generating photoluminescence quantum yields approaching 200%. This process – known as quantum cutting – can improve LSC efficiencies by converting poorly used blue photons into near-infrared photons that are absorbed perfectly by silicon solar cells. These findings led to invention of a fundamentally new and simple monolithic bilayer LSC device structure that capitalizes on the unique properties of quantum-cutting Yb3+-doped CsPbX3 NCs.