Photonic Crystal Waveguides for >90% Light Trapping Efficiency in Luminescent Solar Concentrators

Haley C. Bauser, Colton R. Bukowsky, Megan Phelan, William Weigand, David R. Needell, Zachary C. Holman, Harry A. Atwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Luminescent solar concentrators are currently limited in their potential concentration factor and solar conversion efficiency by the inherent escape cone losses present in conventional planar dielectric waveguides. We demonstrate that photonic crystal slab waveguides tailored for luminescent solar concentrator applications can exhibit >90% light trapping efficiency. This is achieved by use of quantum dot luminophores embedded within the waveguide that absorb light at photon energies corresponding to photonic crystal leaky modes that couple to incoming sunlight. The luminophores then emit at lower photon energies into photonic crystal bound modes that enable highly efficient light trapping in slab waveguides of wavelength-scale thickness. Photonic crystal waveguides thus nearly eliminate escape cone losses, and overcome the performance limitations of previously proposed wavelength-selective dielectric multilayer filters. We describe designs for hole-array and rod-array photonic crystals comprised of hydrogenated amorphous silicon carbide using CdSe/CdS quantum dots. Our analysis suggests that photonic crystal waveguide luminescent solar concentrators using these materials these can achieve light trapping efficiency above 92% and a concentration factor as high as 100.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2122-2131
Number of pages10
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 19 2020


  • luminescent solar concentrators
  • photonic crystals
  • photovoltaics
  • quantum dots
  • waveguide coupling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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