Up- and down-conversion (UC, DC) constitute two singular routes to achieve improved energy harvesting of sunlight by changing its shape of the solar spectrum. To obtain a significant conversion rate two main challenges have to be overcome: i) the excited lanthanide ions have to emit efficiently, a target which has been better accomplished for DC materials; ii) the absorption in the lanthanide-based UC and DC layers has to be high to ensure a sizeable fraction of photons can be harvested. In this paper, we review such materials and their use as spectral converters for photovoltaics (PV), paying special attention to the UC and DC processes in lanthanide glasses in fluoride matrices. We discuss the challenges that need to be overcome in order to implement these materials in real PV devices. Finally, we will present the synthesis of erbium (Er3+) doped YF3 nano-crystals embedded in transparent glass ceramic (TGC) by melt quenching. This material presents a low phonon energy environment for the Er3+ ions due to the fluoride crystals, while the silica glass provides chemical and mechanical stability to the compound.
|Title of host publication||Next Generation (Nano) Photonic and Cell Technologies for Solar Energy Conversion II|
|Publication status||Published - 20 Sep 2011|
|Name||Proceedings of SPIE|