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Microlens Array Light Trapping CdTe Solar Cells for use in Concentrator Photovoltaics. Student : Patrick Margavio , Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Faculty Advisor : Dr. Hailung Tsai, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. What is Light Trapping?

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Microlens Array Light Trapping CdTe Solar Cells for use in Concentrator Photovoltaics

Student: Patrick Margavio, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Faculty Advisor: Dr. Hailung Tsai, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

  • What is Light Trapping?
  • There are two basic ways to trap light within a solar cell
    • Reducing the amount of light reflected away from top surface
      • Examples below scatter incoming light to reduce reflection3
    • Preventing light from leaving once it has entered
  • Why Concentrate Solar Energy?
  • There are two basic strategies to compete with fossil fuels
    • Make solar inexpensive
      • Copper indium gallium diselenide, dye sensitized solar
      • Commercially available single and polycrystalline silicon
      • Solar houses on campus
    • Maximize efficiency
      • Combine solar cell (like multijunction GaAs) with solar concentrator
      • Mirrors, Luminescent Solar Concentrators
      • Solar cell is 75% of cost of system
  • Why Solar?
  • Current energy usage of the world’s 6.5 billion people is 13 Terawatts1
  • The sun outputs 120,000 TW
  • Globally extractable wind power is 4 TW
  • With current efficiencies, fraction of land required to supply present energy consumption is 1.35% of Earth’s landmass2
  • Amount required for food production is 13% cultivation, 26% pasture2
  • What’s a Microlens Array?
    • A microlens array is a collection of microscopic lenses assembled in an orderly pattern
    • Focuses light into a periodic pattern
    • Two purposes for us
      • Light less likely to reflect off top surface
      • Incident light intensity increased locally
    • Efficiency increases with increased intensity
  • Making the Silicon Microlens Array:
  • The silicon gel used is Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)
  • PDMS is combined with a curing agent
  • The PDMS mixture is poured over the glass mold
  • Sample is placed in a vacuum chamber (right) to remove bubbles from mixing process
  • Next PDMS is cured at 700C for one hour in a furnace to solidify
  • Acknowledgements:
    • Dr Hailung Tsai
    • Dr Cheng-Hsiang Lin
    • Material Research Center
    • Intelligent System Center
  • References:
    • P. V. Kamat. J. Phys. Chem. C 111, 2834-2860 (2007)
    • A. Luque. Journal of Applied Physics 110, 031301 (2011)
    • V. V. Iyengar, B. K. Nayak, M. C. Gupta. Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells 94, 2251-2257 (2010)
  • CdTe Cell Fabrication:
  • Transparent Conducing Oxide (TCO) purchased from Pilkington (TEC C10)
  • 150 nm CdS film chemically deposited on TCO
  • 5 µm CdTe film deposited on CdS
  • Sample dipped in CdCl2
  • Sample rinsed with methanol
  • Demonstration Model
  • We will implement our solar cell design to power a small electronic device
  • A two square inch solar cell can produce around 10 to 11 W of power (based on commercially available silicon solar technology)
  • The current output can be a limiting factor for solar cell designs
  • We chose a 7 inch digital picture frame, which fits this power outputto power with the 2 inch solar cell design
  • It is expensive to create microlens arrays
  • Decrease expense by creating a Foturan glass mold and then using it to make many cheap silicon films
  • Mold is created by laser machining
  • G code used to computer control process is shown
  • After laser machining Foturan glass is baked at 5000C and then at 6000C.
  • After baking, sample is etched with HF acid
  • After etching sample is annealed for another hour

Making the Microlens Array Mold:

  • To left, a microscope image of the silicon film is visible. Below, the glass mold is shown in the silicon gel