Scientific Grand Challenge

LMI researchers brainstorm spectrum splitting, Annual Meeting November 2011

The LMI-EFRC is dedicated to expanding the scientific knowledge base for fundamentally photonic principles and mechanisms in solar energy conversion.

An important set of requirements of photonic materials for solar energy conversion are related to the characteristics of the sun as a light source – it is a broadband and unpolarized light source, and the achievable conversion efficiency for non-tracking converters must be reasonably independent of light incidence angle.

To improve energy conversion efficiency with photonic design and materials requires the simultaneous development of theoretical methods (new photonic principles, mathematical methods, electromagnetic designs and computational approaches) and experimental methods (synthetic methods for nano- and meso-scale fabrication of materials with controlled refractive index profiles and complex two- and three-dimensional architectures). The confluence of these new photonic methods, the performance requirements for solar energy conversion and scientific opportunity has framed the challenges that define the research groups in the LMI-EFRC: