Improving the efficiency of upconversion by light concentration using nanoparticle design: Topical Review

S. P. Madsen, J. Christiansen, Rasmus Ellebæk Christiansen, J. Vester-Petersen, S. H. Møller, H. Lakhotiya, A. Nazir, E. Eriksen, S. Roesgaard, Ole Sigmund, J. S. Lissau, E. Destouesse, M. Madsen, B. Julsgaard, P. Balling*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Upconversion of sunlight with energy below the band gap of a solar cell is a promising technique for enhancing the cell efficiency, simply by utilizing a larger part of the solar spectrum. The present topical review addresses this concept and discusses the material properties needed for an efficient upconversion process with focus on both silicon and organic solar cells. To design efficient upconverters, insight into topics such as quantum-optics, nano-optics, numerical modeling, optimization, material fabrication, and material characterization is paramount, and the necessary concepts are introduced throughout the review. Upconversion modeling is done using rate equations, while optical modeling is done by solving Maxwell’s equations using the finite element method. Topology optimization is introduced and used to generate geometries of gold nanoparticles capable of greatly enhancing the upconversion yield. Fabrication and experimental characterization methods are discussed. Some recent results are presented and finally the possibility of designing upconverting materials capable of increasing the short-circuit current in a solar cell is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number073001
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number7
Number of pages39
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Spectral upconversion
  • Plasmonic near-field effects
  • Solar cell efficiencies


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