solar energy, photovoltaics, light trapping, nanoparticle scattering
Light trapping is a useful way of enhancing photovoltaic conversion via any means by which light not converted to electricity in a photovoltaic (PV) in one pass through its PN junction, is given another opportunity to do so. Promising techniques include the use of: plasmonics (arrays of conductive nanoparticles) to generate surface waves to redirect light; photonic crystals (often as reflectors); quantum dots (nanoscale encapsulated spherical semiconductors) to fluoresce and scatter light into different directions. To-date, fluorescence has been the only nonlinear process utilized and these constitute an entire class of light traps known as Luminescent Solar Concentrators. Herein, we introduce a new class of nonlinear light trapping which utilizes the saturation of the PV itself, within a mode-coupled architecture. We paradigm shift to a new class of traps which open the door to importing energy from elsewhere and mode coupling it directly into the PN junction. Stable critical points enable the nonlinear clamping of mode amplitudes so that energy imported from other collectors can be uniformly distributed over distances as long as we wish. This enables the design of utility scale, highly concentrated photovoltaic systems which can be roll-to-roll processed in flexible structures.