Noel (Chris) Giebink came to Penn State's Department of Electrical Engineering this January with research interests in solar energy technologies. While photovoltaics remain a strong area of his research, he is also involved in a new lab funded by Dow Chemical Company that is being created to develop advanced flexible and organic electronics.
Luminescent Solar Concentrators Guide the Light
The particular type of solar concentrator Giebink worked with at ANSER is called a luminescent solar concentrator (LSC). Typical concentrators employ mirrors or lenses and solar tracking to generate high intensities that can be used with solar cells or to drive a steam turbine. LSCs, on the other hand, use a slab of transparent material embedded with a luminescent material to absorb sunlight and then re-emit it at a lower frequency, where it is trapped within the slab and absorbed by solar cells at the edges. The advantage of this approach is that LSCs do not have to track the Sun in order to concentrate light, which avoids the expensive tracking infrastructure required for mirror or lens-based concentrators.