Recent research has shown that using multiple diverse-bandgap photovoltaic (PV) cells in conjunction with a spectrum splitting optical system can significantly improve PV power generation efficiency. Although volume Bragg gratings (VBGs) can serve as effective spectrum splitters, the inherent dispersion of a VBG can be detrimental given a broad-spectrum input. The performance of a single holographic spectrum splitter element can be improved by utilizing multiple single volume gratings, each operating in a slightly different spectral band. However, care must be taken to avoid inter-grating coupling effects that limit the ultimate performance. This work explores broadband two-grating holographic optical elements (HOEs) in multiplexed (single element) and sandwiched-grating arrangements. Particle swarm optimization is used to tailor these systems to the solar spectrum, taking into account both efficiency and dispersion. Both multiplexed and sandwiched two-grating systems exhibit performance improvements over single-grating solutions, especially when reduced dispersion is required. Under a ±2° constraint on output angular spread from wavelength dispersion, sandwiched-, multiplexed-, and single-grating systems exhibit power conversion efficiencies of 82.1%, 80.9%, and 77.5%, respectively, compared to an ideal bandpass spectrum splitter. Dispersion performance can be further improved by employing more than two VBGs in the spectrum splitter, but efficiency is compromised by additional cross-coupling effects. Multiplexed-grating systems are especially susceptible to these effects, but have the advantage of utilizing only a single HOE.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) (FA9550-10-1-0485 P0003); Initiative for Renewable Energy and the Environment (00011801).