In this work, the technique of designing and optimizing broadband volume transmission holograms using dichromate gelatin (DCG) is summarized for solar spectrum-splitting application. Spectrum splitting photovoltaic system uses a series of single bandgap PV cells that have different spectral conversion efficiency properties to more fully utilize the solar spectrum. In such a system, one or more high performance optical filters are usually required to split the solar spectrum and efficiently send them to the corresponding PV cells. An ideal spectral filter should have a rectangular shape with sharp transition wavelengths. DCG is a near ideal holographic material for solar applications as it can achieve high refractive index modulation, low absorption and scattering properties and long-term stability to solar exposure after sealing. In this research, a methodology of designing and modeling a transmission DCG hologram using coupled wave analysis for different PV bandgap combinations is described. To achieve a broad diffraction bandwidth and sharp cut-off wavelength, a cascaded structure of multiple thick holograms is described. A search algorithm is also developed to optimize both single and two-layer cascaded holographic spectrum splitters for the best bandgap combinations of two- and three-junction SSPV systems illuminated under the AM1.5 solar spectrum. The power conversion efficiencies of the optimized systems under the AM1.5 solar spectrum are then calculated using the detailed balance method, and shows an improvement compared with tandem structure.
In this paper a prototype spectrum-splitting photovoltaic system based on volume holographic lenses (VHL) is designed, fabricated and tested. In spectrum-splitting systems, incident sunlight is divided in spectral bands for optimal conversion by a set of single-junction PV cells that are laterally separated. The VHL spectrumsplitting system in this paper has a form factor similar to conventional silicon PV modules but with higher efficiencies (>30%). Unlike many other spectrum-splitting systems that have been proposed in the past, the system in this work converts both direct and diffuse sunlight while using inexpensive 1-axis tracking systems. The VHL system uses holographic lenses that focus light at a transition wavelength to the boundary between two PV cells. Longer wavelength light is dispersed to the narrow bandgap cell and shorter wavelength light to the wide bandgap cell. A prototype system is designed with silicon and GaAs PV cells. The holographic lenses are fabricated in Covestro Bayfol HX photopolymer by ‘stitching’ together lens segments through sequential masked exposures. The PV cells and holographic lenses were characterized and the data was used in a raytrace simulation and predicts an improvement in total power output of 15.2% compared to a non-spectrum-splitting reference. A laboratory measurement yielded an improvement in power output of 8.5%.
Spectrum splitting is an approach to increasing the conversion efficiency of a photovoltaic (PV) system. Several methods can be used to perform this function which requires efficient spatial separation of different spectral bands of the incident solar radiation. In this paper several of holographic methods for implementing spectrum splitting are reviewed along with the benefits and disadvantages associated with each approach. The review indicates that a volume holographic lens has many advantages for spectrum splitting in terms of both power conversion efficiency and energy yield. A specific design for a volume holographic spectrum splitting lens is discussed for use with high bandgap InGaP and low bandgap silicon PV cells. The holographic lenses are modeled using rigorous coupled wave analysis, and the optical efficiency is evaluated using non-sequential raytracing. A proof-of-concept off-axis holographic lens is also recorded in dichromated gelatin film and the spectral diffraction efficiency of the hologram is measured with multiple laser sources across the diffracted spectral band. The experimental volume holographic lens (VHL) characteristics are compared to an ideal spectrum splitting filter in terms of power conversion efficiency and energy yield in environments with high direct normal incidence (DNI) illumination and high levels of diffuse illumination. The results show that the experimental VHL can achieve 62.5% of the ideal filter power conversion efficiency, 64.8% of the ideal filter DNI environment energy yield, and 57.7% of the ideal diffuse environment energy yield performance.
This paper presents a segmented parabolic concentrator employing holographic spectral filters that provide focusing and spectral bandwidth separation capability to the system. Strips of low band gap silicon photovoltaic (PV) cells are formed into a parabolic surface as shown by Holman et. al. . The surface of the PV segments is covered with holographic elements formed in dichromated gelatin. The holographic elements are designed to transmit longer wavelengths to silicon cells, and to reflect short wavelength light towards a secondary collector where high-bandgap PV cells are mounted. The system can be optimized for different combinations of diffuse and direct solar illumination conditions for particular geographical locations by controlling the concentration ratio and filtering properties of the holographic elements. In addition, the reflectivity of the back contact of the silicon cells is used to increase the optical path length and light trapping. This potentially allows the use of thin film silicon for the low bandgap PV cell material. The optical design combines the focusing properties of the parabolic concentrator and the holographic element to control the concentration ratio and uniformity of the spectral distribution at the high bandgap cell location. The presentation concludes with a comparison of different spectrum splitting holographic filter materials for this application.
In this study the impact of outdoor temperature variations and solar illumination exposure on spectral filter material and holographic optical elements is examined. Although holographic components have been shown to be useful for solar spectrum splitting designs, relatively little quantitative data exist to demonstrate the extent to which these materials can withstand outdoor conditions. As researchers seek to investigate practical spectrum splitting designs, the environmental stability of holographic materials should be considered as an important factor. In the experiment presented, two holographic materials, Covestro Bayfol HX photopolymer and dichromated gelatin, and 3M reflective polymer filter materials are exposed to outdoor conditions for a period of several months. The environmental effect on absorption, spectral and angular bandwidth, peak efficiency, and Bragg matching conditions for the holograms are examined. Spectral bandwidth and transmittance of the 3M reflective filter material are also monitored. Holographic gratings are recorded, measured, and mounted on glass substrates and then sealed with a glass cover plate. The test samples are then mounted on a photovoltaic panel to simulate realistic temperature conditions and placed at an outdoor test facility in Tucson, Arizona. A duplicate set of holograms and 3M filter material is stored as a control group and periodically compared over the test period.