The Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSCs) is a simple object: an inexpensive plastic device containing fluorescent dye molecules that allows sunlight to penetrate the top surface, become absorbed by the dyes, and re-emitted at a longer wavelength. The light is trapped within the plastic plate by total internal reflection, and become concentrated along the edge(s), where one can place a small, highly efficient, more expensive solar cell(s) to collect this concentrated light and generate electricity. These devices could be ideal for use in an application area traditional silicon-based photovoltaics have had a very difficult time entering: the urban setting. They are colorful, can be made in a variety of shapes to suit a designer’s vision, work similarly in both sunny and cloudy conditions, are resistant to impact damage, and should be inexpensive to manufacture. Moreover by using a liquid crystal host containing fluorescent dye molecules we are able to fabricate ‘windows’ that can switch between ‘dark’ and ‘light’ states, while simultaneously generating electrical current.
Luminescent Solar Concentrator (LSC) sound barrier panels were installed April 10 2015 in den Bosch as part of the SONOB project. Michael Debije will be monitoring the performance of the device for the next year as part of a multi-partner effort to determine the viability of the LSC as an electricity generator for use in the built environment. Go take a look yourself!