Enhancing the solar cell efficiency – concentrating light using optimized gold nanostructures

PhD defence, Monday 20 August 2018. Joakim Vester-Petersen.

2018.08.20 | Maia Høyer Monod

Joakim Vester-Petersen

From the sun, the earth receives more than 10,000 times our annual energy consumption each year. Unfortunately, solar cells utilize only a small part of the light from the sun, partly because the infrared (long wavelength) light is not absorbed. By using a special physical process, two infrared photons can be converted into one photon with higher energy – in the near-infrared or visible spectrum. This process is called photon upconversion and can occur in erbium ions for example. From a solar cell perspective, the upconverted photons represent additional absorbable light, which helps increase the current generation – especially in the morning and evening where the infrared irradiation is high.

The upconversion process can be enhanced by using nanostructures specially designed to function as nano-optical lenses that concentrate infrared light in areas around the erbium ions.

During his studies, Joakim Vester-Petersen has researched the design of gold nanostructures, which, through numerical modeling, are optimized to concentrate infrared light into thin films of titanium dioxide doped with erbium ions. The research has focused on the development and application of density-based topology optimization to tailor the nanostructure designs such that their light-concentrating capability is maximized.

The PhD project is part of the SunTune project, which is funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark. The studies were carried out at the Department of Engineering in the Section of Mechanical Engineering at Aarhus University.

SunTune: http://projects.au.dk/suntune/ 

This résumé was prepared by the PhD student.

Time: Monday, 20 August 2018 at 13:00
Place: Room 05.060, Navitas, Aarhus University, Inge Lehmanns Gade 10 8000 Aarhus C.
Title of PhD thesis: Topology Optimization of Field-enhancing Nanostructures for Photovoltaic Applications
Contact information: Joakim Vester-Petersen, e-mail: jvepe@eng.au.dk
Members of the assessment committee:
Professor Mads Peter Sørensen, Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Technical University of Denmark
Professor Martin Berggren, Department of Computing Science, Umeå University
Professor Martin Greiner, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University (chair)
Main supervisor:
Associate Professor Søren P. Madsen, Department of Engineering, Aarhus University
Co-supervisor:
Postdoc Rasmus E. Christiansen, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
Language: The PhD dissertation will be defended in English

The defense is public.

PhD defence
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Revised 13.08.2018