3 years ago

Geometric Design of Scalable Forward Scatterers for Optimally Efficient Solar Transformers

Geometric Design of Scalable Forward Scatterers for Optimally Efficient Solar Transformers
Hye-Na Kim, Shu Yang, Amanda L. Holt, Sanaz Vahidinia, Alison M. Sweeney
It will be ideal to deliver equal, optimally efficient “doses” of sunlight to all cells in a photobioreactor system, while simultaneously utilizing the entire solar resource. Backed by the numerical scattering simulation and optimization, here, the design, synthesis, and characterization of the synthetic iridocytes that recapitulated the salient forward-scattering behavior of the Tridacnid clam system are reported, which presents the first geometric solution to allow narrow, precise forward redistribution of flux, utilizing the solar resource at the maximum quantum efficiency possible in living cells. The synthetic iridocytes are composed of silica nanoparticles in microspheres embedded in gelatin, both are low refractive index materials and inexpensive. They show wavelength selectivity, have little loss (the back-scattering intensity is reduced to less than ≈0.01% of the forward-scattered intensity), and narrow forward scattering cone similar to giant clams. Moreover, by comparing experiments and theoretical calculation, it is confirmed that the nonuniformity of the scatter sizes is a “feature not a bug” of the design, allowing for efficient, forward redistribution of solar flux in a micrometer-scaled paradigm. This method is environmentally benign, inexpensive, and scalable to produce optical components that will find uses in efficiency-limited solar conversion technologies, heat sinks, and biofuel production. Synthetic iridocytes composed of hierarchically assembled silica particles and gelatin media are presented to recapitulate the salient forward-scattering behavior of the giant clam system with little loss. The highly forward-scattering system with optimized design of synthetic iridocytes can lead to the first geometric solution to allow efficient, forward redistribution of solar flux in a new micrometer-scaled paradigm.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/adma.201702922

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