A one-dimensional photonic crystal (1D PC) on top of a metal grating can efficiently couple incoming broadband, unpolarized light into multiple guided-wave modes (surface-plasmon-polariton waves and waveguide modes) with relatively long propagation lengths. These properties make this plasmonic architecture potentially attractive for solar concentration over length scales of tens to hundreds of micrometers. For proof-of-concept purposes, we have experimentally demonstrated a solar concentration device based on this plasmonic approach. The fabricated plasmonic concentrators were constructed as 1D-PC-loaded 1D metallic gratings, and microsolar cells were attached to the concentrators to test their performance. We found the plasmonic concentrators can have optical transfer efficiency of 24% at a concentration factor around 2×. In addition, light collection by the plasmonic concentrators was found to be insensitive to the angle of incidence of the light. Although the plasmonic concentrator structures realized in this study have modest efficiencies compared to conventional concentrator devices, the results allowed us to validate theoretical predictions of long propagation lengths and ultimately may help in the design of structures for improved performance. Our plasmonic-concentrator approach opens up new engineering opportunities for researchers to implement well-developed plasmonic theory into the design of broadband solar concentrating devices.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering