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Open Access Highly Accessed Nano Review

Upconversion in solar cells

Wilfried GJHM van Sark1*, Jessica de Wild2, Jatin K Rath2, Andries Meijerink3 and Ruud EI Schropp245

Author Affiliations

1 Copernicus Institute, Utrecht University, Budapestlaan 6, Utrecht 3584 CD, The Netherlands

2 Physics of Devices, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, High Tech Campus 5, Eindhoven 5656 AE, The Netherlands

3 Condensed Matter and Interfaces, Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80000, Utrecht 3508 TA, The Netherlands

4 Present address: Solar Energy, Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN), High Tech Campus Building 5, p-057 (WAY), Eindhoven 5656 AE, The Netherlands

5 Present address: Plasma & Materials Processing, Department of Applied Physics, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), P.O. Box 513, Eindhoven 5600 MB, The Netherlands

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2013, 8:81  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-8-81

Published: 15 February 2013

Abstract

The possibility to tune chemical and physical properties in nanosized materials has a strong impact on a variety of technologies, including photovoltaics. One of the prominent research areas of nanomaterials for photovoltaics involves spectral conversion. Modification of the spectrum requires down- and/or upconversion or downshifting of the spectrum, meaning that the energy of photons is modified to either lower (down) or higher (up) energy. Nanostructures such as quantum dots, luminescent dye molecules, and lanthanide-doped glasses are capable of absorbing photons at a certain wavelength and emitting photons at a different (shorter or longer) wavelength. We will discuss upconversion by lanthanide compounds in various host materials and will further demonstrate upconversion to work for thin-film silicon solar cells.

Keywords:
Upconversion; Photovoltaics; Thin-film silicon; Spectral modification; Lanthanides