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Optimal Sunlight Harvesting in Photovoltaics and Photosynthesis

Bernardi, Marco and Grossman, Jeffrey C. (2013) Optimal Sunlight Harvesting in Photovoltaics and Photosynthesis. Journal of Physical Chemistry C, 117 (51). pp. 26896-26904. ISSN 1932-7447. doi:10.1021/jp4090348.

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Materials employed to harvest sunlight are commonly recognized to be at a premium when their optical absorption peaks in the visible, extends to the infrared, is panchromatic, and is matched to the solar spectrum. By contrast, natural photosynthetic absorbers such as chlorophylls and carotenoids display absorption spectra with narrow peaks for yet-unknown evolutionary reasons. Beyond such general observations, a rigorous treatment of sunlight harvesting optimization is still lacking. In this work, we provide a quantitative analysis of optimal solar energy harvesting in materials. We derive optimal absorption spectra as a function of absorber thickness, elucidate the concept of solar-matched absorption and its applicability limits, and define a procedure to rank photovoltaic materials for sunlight harvesting. In addition, we suggest a possible explanation for why absorption in plant photosynthetic pigments occurs in narrow energy windows.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Bernardi, Marco0000-0001-7289-9666
Grossman, Jeffrey C.0000-0003-1281-2359
Additional Information:© 2013 American Chemical Society. Received: September 10, 2013; Revised: November 13, 2013; Published: November 14, 2013. The authors acknowledge financial support from the Solar Frontiers Program at MIT. We are grateful to XSEDE for providing computational resources. The authors declare no competing financial interest.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)UNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:51
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20150923-150934426
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Official Citation:Optimal Sunlight Harvesting in Photovoltaics and Photosynthesis Marco Bernardi and Jeffrey C. Grossman The Journal of Physical Chemistry C 2013 117 (51), 26896-26904 DOI: 10.1021/jp4090348
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:60452
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Sep 2015 22:57
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 22:34

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